Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that the capital’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will come into operation from April 2019, 18 months earlier than originally proposed.
The scheme, which will see owners of polluting vehicles entering central London pay a daily fee, was first developed by former mayor Boris Johnson who’d planned for it to launch in September 2020.
However following his election Mr Khan, who has made cleaning up the capital’s poor quality air a priority for his administration, asked Transport for London to consult on bringing the scheme forward, saying the planned introduction date was too late and more urgent action needed to be taken to boost public health.
More than 18,000 Londoners responded to the consultation, 63 per cent of whom backed the Mayor’s plans to bring forward the launch date. Following this consultation, Mr Khan has ordered TfL to launch the scheme on 8th April 2019.
The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a days, all-year round and unlike the congestion charge will not be suspended over Christmas. Once up and running, the scheme will replace the ’T-Charge’ launched by Mr Khan last month.
Up to 60,000 vehicles a day will be affected, with drivers of polluting cars, vans and motorbikes which don’t meet Euro 6 standards for diesel vehicles or Euro 4 standard for petrol vehicles, charged £12.50 to enter the ULEZ area. Owners of lorries, buses and coaches which fail to meet the standards will face a daily £100 fee.
These fees are in addition to the congestion charge which will continue to operate.
City Hall says all revenue raised will be used to help fund the transport network, including supporting efforts to clean up the bus fleet.
Mayor Khan said: “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation.
“We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death.
“I am determined to take the bold action needed to address this scourge once and for all.
“So I am pleased to confirm that from 8th April 2019 – 17 months earlier than planned – stricter standards for diesel vehicles will apply 24/7 across central London.
“This builds on the success of the T-Charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London’s air.”
Earlier this year the Federation of Small Businesses warned that bringing forward the scheme risks plunging small firms into “significant financial hardship” as many firms have entered into vehicle leases based on the original 2020 date.
Commenting after today’s announcement, Sue Terpilowski OBE, FSB London Policy Chair said: “This simply does not allow sufficient time for businesses to make changes to their fleets without significant cost hardship, especially coming a day after the first interest rate rise in over a decade.
“Many businesses have worked to the previous ULEZ implementation date of 2020 and have contractual obligations such as leases and business loans for their vehicles from which they cannot obtain an early release without significant financial penalties.
“Whilst our members support the Mayor’s aims to improve air quality in the capital, the costs of this policy will fall disproportionately harder on the small and micro businesses who are a vital part of our local economies and who provide community cohesion.”