London to expand LEZ again to improve air quality

London intends to expand its ultra-low-emission zone again and, according to the Court, is allowed to do so. In this zone, polluting cars – even with a foreign license plate – must pay a daily surcharge of about 14,50 euros (£12,50). A fine of up to £180 ( more than 200 euros) is imposed if they don’t pay the charge.

According to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, the new zone is a public health imperative. “Expanding the ULEZ London-wide will mean five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives,” he said in November last year when the expansion was announced.

‘Further bold measures’

The ultra-low-emission zone in the British capital was introduced in 2019 and applied to the most central parts of the city. In October 2021, the zone was expanded from the inner city to the suburbs in the first phase.

Still, Khan said afterward that “further bold measures” would be necessary to improve air quality and stop congestion. He also said it was a matter of social justice, with the poorest communities being hit harder by the pollution of bad air quality.

Greater London

From August 29th, it will be expanded to cover almost all of Greater London. The expanded zone will also include neighborhoods with less public transport and where people depend more on their own transport. According to critics, the plan is unluckily timed, as people already struggle with the cost of living.

As a result, resistance to the plan is growing. Five local governments, led by the Conservative Party, had lodged objections, but these already have been declared unfounded.

One in ten cars will pay

On an average day, more than 90% of all cars driving in the city districts with the new regulation will meet the requirements, meaning that about one in ten cars will need to pay the imposed tax. Thousands of cameras all over the city will guarantee enforcement. They will check whether payment has been made based on license plates.

The expansion of the low-emission zone was also accompanied by a £110 million scrappage scheme to support people who need to change cars and a significant improvement to the bus network in outer Londen.

Apart from the low-emission zone and the toll roads, London also charges a rush-hour tax. Foreign visitors who are unaware of this are sometimes confronted with hefty fines.


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