Drivers may face £25 ULEZ charge simply for driving to work

Mike Graham fumes over ULEZ extension

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London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded to include all of the capital after August 29, 2023, as announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year (apart from Christmas Day) and will apply across all London boroughs, up to the current Low Emission Zone boundary. Vehicles must meet strict emission standards to drive in the ULEZ including Euro 4 petrol and Euro 6 for diesel.

Motorcycles and mopeds must adhere to the Euro 3 emissions standards, with any non-compliant vehicle facing the £12.50 daily fee.

This comes with a new warning, as police officers and other key workers in London could face charges of £25 every day to travel to work.

More than half of Metropolitan Police officers live outside of London, with many commuting to the capital as a result of their irregular shift patterns.

Because many essential workers may be on shift overnight, they may drive in the zone on one day and return home the following day.

This would result in them being charged twice, costing them up to £25 if they have a non-ULEZ-compliant vehicle.

MPs are now calling on Sadiq Khan and Transport for London to allow emergency service workers to be exempt from the charge amid the cost of living crisis.

Current exemptions are available for classic cars that are more than 40 years old, specialist machinery and military vehicles.

Louie French, Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: “This tax raid on drivers by the Mayor of London from August next year will hammer businesses, residents and emergency service workers in Greater London.

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“Nurses working in my local hospital will face costs of up to £25 a shift if they are working nights, which are the same costs facing the many police and fire officers working in Bexley but living in Kent.

“The financial impact of ULEZ expansion will be severe on people in outer London and neighbouring counties, and the Mayor needs to urgently reverse this terrible decision,” he told the Telegraph.

The money raised from the ULEZ is reinvested into maintaining and improving London’s transport network, including cleaner methods of travel and the Underground.

In addition to the ULEZ fee, drivers who travel within the Congestion Charge area will face an extra £15 daily charge.

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More exemptions were recently announced to celebrate the UN Day for Disabled People, with campaigners praising the move.

An exemption will be granted to all disabled people receiving any rate of the mobility component of PIP and some other disability benefits until 2027.

This means that 280,000 more Disabled people will be able to benefit from the new ULEZ temporary exemptions.

People with disabilities will also benefit from the scrappage scheme, with grants available to those who need “wheelchair Specific Adaptations or other adaptations”.

Inclusion London said it was “delighted” that the Mayor and TfL had taken the step to help disabled drivers in the capital.

Transport for London is also increasing the PCN level for the ULEZ to £180 (reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days) to maintain the deterrent effect of the scheme and achieve the scheme’s air quality and health objectives.   

Compliance in outer London is already estimated to be at 85 percent, even before the ULEZ is expanded.

The announcement follows a public consultation which ran between May and July 2022, in which 59 percent of respondents agreed that more needed to be done to tackle toxic air. 

A representative YouGov poll commissioned by City Hall also revealed nearly twice as many Londoners believe the Mayor’s proposed expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone should go ahead than oppose it.   

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