London's ultra low emission zone
London has implemented an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the central city, meaning drivers of older, more polluting vehicles are being charged more to enter the congestion zone. The move’s aimed at improving air quality and is expected to reduce road transport emissions by around 45%.
Cars, vans and motorbikes that don’t meet the standards will be charged $24.50, while trucks and buses get pinged nearly $200 a day when entering the zone. That’s in addition to the $22.50 congestion charge that operates on weekdays. The ULEZ applies 24 hours a day, every day. From October 2021 the boundary will be extended to a larger area.
The charge will be enforced using number plate recognition and the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency database, which includes every vehicle’s emission standards.
It’s estimated thousands of Londoners die prematurely each year because long term exposure to toxic air. Over 450 schools in the English capital are in areas exceeding legal air quality levels. One study found inner city children exposed to high levels of pollution in London were growing up with lung capacity 5% smaller than other children.
And everyone living in the city resides in an area exceeding World Health Organisation guidelines for the most dangerous toxic particles.
The ULEZ scheme was initially announced by former London mayor, Boris Johnson, in 2014. His successor, Sadiq Khan, pushed it through, introducing it a year earlier than originally planned.
Businesses and environmental groups have welcomed the scheme.
Other cities including Birmingham and Leeds have said they will introduce clean air zones in 2020, and Manchester plans to follow suit.