Drivers brace for extension to pollution zone in 2021

BY SARAH GREALISH

Another driving charge which will affect about 2.5 million vehicles in the capital each year will soon be introduced.

A ban on highly polluting vehicles was introduced yesterday hitting Lambeth, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Wandsworth.

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) has imposed the toughest emission standards of any city world wide and will charge the vehicles which are the most pollutant for driving through the area.

A pedestrian with an anti-pollution mask.

The zone covers the same area as the London Congestion Charge Zone.

In 2021 it will be extended across much more of the capital. The extension will insist anyone driving north of Upper Richmond Road, Wandsworth High Street, East Hill, Wandsworth Common Northside, Battersea Rise, The Avenue Clapham Common West Side and Clapham Common Southside will need to comply with the new ULEZ regulations.

Many diesel cars built before 2016 and petrol cars built before 2006 will be affected.

The zone will run 24/7 with daily charges of £12.50 per car, moped or motorcycle – and drivers who forget to pay will be fined £160.

The charge will be in addition to the £11.50 Congestion-charge, adding a total of up to £24 a day for some drivers.

Using a car on average five times a week in the zone will add up to £3,250 a year.

The area will be clearly signposted but will have no barriers or toll booths.

Cameras will read the vehicles number plates as they are in the zone and will be checked against a database to see if they meet with ULEZ emission standards.

Transport for London announced last week that it had sent over 600,000 warning letters to people who had entered the zone in the last year in vehicles that would have to pay the daily fine.

A ‘scrap for cash’ scheme backed by the mayor has allocated £48 million aimed at helping Londoners on a low income, micro-businesses and charities to make sure their vehicle is compliant with the new rules.

David Frost, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:
“We support efforts to improve London’s air quality. But at this time of huge uncertainty for businesses, and when many are grappling with other government-imposed changes such as the Making Tax Digital programme, we believe enforcement of the ULEZ should be done pragmatically. For as long as the Mayor’s communication campaign has not reached everyone who needs to know, TfL should issue advisory notices to businesses infringing the rules, rather than immediately imposing the heavy penalties the law requires. Otherwise, smaller businesses which can’t afford to upgrade their vehicles immediately risk being priced out of serving central London clients.”

TfL have created a website for drivers to check if their car will be charged. Application forms for the scrappage fund are on its website.

Brixton Road broke its annual air pollution limit in the first five days of 2017.

Kings College London recently published a report which revealed that nearly 10,000 people die prematurely in the capital every year because of toxic air.

Air pollution has also been identified as a factor in diminishing children’s lung development by The British Lung Foundation.

The mayor, Sadiq Khan, recently confirmed that the introduction of the ULEZ will lead to a 30 per cent reduction in harmful nitrous oxide concentration in central London by 2021.

Leonie Cooper, London Assembly Member for Wandsworth and Westminster said: “The introduction of ULEZ is an absolutely necessary step to drastically clean up London’s toxic air.

“If stringent action isn’t taken, we will continue to see air pollution contribute towards the stunting of children’s lung development and the premature death of almost 10,000 Londoners- mostly in the capital’s poorest communities.”

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