From October 25, London’s ULEZ is expanding from central London up to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). The ULEZ started in April 2019 and covered a 21 square km area of central London (zone one on the tube map), but it will now cover most of London up to the outskirts, affecting a 225 square km zone.
Currently, an estimated 60,000 vehicles pay the £12.50 ULEZ fee each day, and with the new rules, an additional 138,000 non-compliant vehicles will be charged.
The move has received a huge amount of criticism as Londoners feel they have not had enough time to trade in their cars for compliant models like electric cars.
Euro 3 motorcycles and mopeds, Euro 4 petrol cars and vans, and Euro 6 diesel models are also exempt from the charge.
But Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has refused to delay the expansion and has insisted that London’s toxic air problem needs to be solved now, as pollution contributes to 4,000 premature deaths per year in the city.
Last night on BBC London he said: “This is a matter of life and death. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
The first death officially caused by air pollution was of nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah from Lewisham, who died after an asthma attack in 2013.
Since the introduction of ULEZ in 2019, there are now 44,100 fewer polluting cars driving in the zone every day, and toxic NO2 concentrations have been reduced by 44 percent.
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According to Public Health England, air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, causing up to 36,000 deaths a year by triggering or worsening illnesses such as lung cancer, stroke and asthma.
It is hoped that the huge expansion of the ULEZ will have profoundly positive effects on the lives of Britons.
The ULEZ expansion comes as other cities are looking to introduce similar car tax measures, with Portsmouth becoming the latest city to introduce measures to tackle air pollution.
Portsmouth is set to launch its Clean Air Zone on November 29, with high-polluting private hire vehicles and taxis being charged £10.
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Earlier this month, Birmingham council announced what it calls a “transformative” transport plan that will see the busy city becoming a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood.
Rather than allowing drivers to travel directly between zones, motorists will be diverted through road barriers towards the A4540 ring road – keeping the city centre a cleaner environment to live in.
The city will also introduce a new fleet of zero-emission buses and more cycle lanes.
READ MORE: ULEZ charge: How much new daily cost is- and where is affected
London’s low traffic neighbourhoods have been a hated initiative by many who feel traffic is not being reduced but simply diverted, inflicting pollution on residents by main roads.
A Lambeth resident commented on Facebook: “They [LTNs] do not reduce traffic movement. They simply displace it, creating longer trips and more congestion which equals more pollution overall. Simple.”
However, from a city-wide perspective, ultra-low emission zones and low traffic neighbourhoods have been found to reduce the number of cars on residential streets significantly, resulting in cleaner air for families and fewer pedestrian casualties.
A Yougov study of 1192 Londoners found that 52 percent of participants supported the introduction of low traffic neighbourhoods, whilst 35 percent said they opposed the introduction.
Would you support a move to introduce an ultra-low emission zone in your city or low traffic neighbourhood restrictions in your area? Let us know in the comments section below.
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