Drivers urged to prepare for ULEZ expansion to avoid high costs

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Sadiq Khan claimed that the expansion of the Ultra-low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a part of his bid to tackle air pollution in the Capital. It will also aim to decrease congestion on roads. Air pollution contributes to in excess of 9,400 premature deaths every year in London, and costs the NHS between £1.4billion and £3.7billion per year.

The mayor of London said Londoners are “breathing in poison”, adding that the 10 boroughs with the most premature deaths from air pollution were all in outer London.

However, many motorists will be worried about the costs associated with the expansion, especially during a cost of living crisis. 

With that in mind, spoke to an expert who urged drivers to prepare for ULEZ before the costs of compatible vehicles go up. 

Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, said: “ULEZ is important, especially when it comes to encouraging the move to electric vehicles.

“However, the impact this might have on individuals in the area is unclear, it can be assumed that most people will have compliant vehicles but I would recommend they check this before leaving it too late.

“By tackling the issue earlier, vehicle prices should remain reasonable – however, there is no telling whether there will be a surge in prices once these regulations become more widespread.

“As there has been mention of grants and loans to help support those who are struggling to purchase compliant vehicles, it can be assumed that Government support will be there for those who aren’t able to make this change immediately.

“I will however stress again that you should find out which category your car fits into and whether this is an expense you will have to face in the near future.

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“Taking the time to look into alternative transport options that might also benefit you, look at the practicality of public transport systems in your area or whether you can commute by bicycle.”

The £12.50 ULEZ charge is for vehicles that do not meet up-to-date emissions standards, which currently covers inner London.

This is as well as the £15 daily congestion charge for all vehicles in the very centre of London.

The ULEZ expansion will cover all of London, from the centre down to Chessington and up to the M25.

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It will be enforced by numberplate recognition cameras, some of which are already in place.

A recent YouGov poll showed that Londoners support the expansion of the ULEZ. Some 51 percent of the 1,245 adults surveyed were in support, while 27 percent were in opposition.

After looking at the high number of deaths due to air pollution in London, Mr Khan said: “Doing nothing is not an option for me.”

However, in an open consultation for the scheme, some critics said it was unfair to expand such a charge during a cost of living crisis.

Other cities, such as Greater Manchester, have changed their minds on introducing similar clean air zones because of this.

Mr Khan said he has taken concerns into consideration and has made some changes, for example, the expansion of a grace period for disabled people to update their vehicles. Community transport and charities will also be covered by the grace period.

The mayor also announced that the Greater London Authority set up a £110million scrappage scheme to help people replace their polluting cars.

Anyone using the scheme will be given a credit towards buying a less polluting vehicle, as well as be given the option of a free travel card.

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