London ULEZ expansion could lead to ‘demonised’ drivers selling cars

ULEZ is a 'clumsy mechanism' says former MP Stephen Pound

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Plans to expand the ULEZ to cover most of the Greater London area could prompt 39.8 percent of car owners in London to make the switch to an electric vehicle. In August 2023, the ULEZ zone will expand and see drivers of the most polluting petrol and diesel vehicles potentially paying £180 in fines.

Currently, drivers in the zone pay £12.50 per day if their vehicle is not compliant.

Move Electric’s research of 384 Greater London residents who owned a car found 41.9 percent support the Mayor of London’s plans to expand the ULEZ boundary.

Earlier this year, Transport for London issued a public consultation on plans to increase the emissions-based charging zone to almost 600 square miles.

This would be increased from the current 147 square mile zone, to encompass most areas inside the M25 to tackle urban air quality.

More than a quarter of car owners in Greater London said their vehicle will not comply with ULEZ requirements, while 7.8 percent of drivers were not sure whether their vehicle was compliant. 

Of those with non-compliant vehicles, 78.3 percent said they do not support the suggested ULEZ expansion.

The current Ultra Low Emissions Zone operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, apart from Christmas Day.

James Attwood, Move Electric editor, said: “The intent of ULEZ to deter drivers from using old, polluting vehicles and to decrease air pollution in the capital is clearly working.

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“Our research shows 39.8 percent of car owners in Greater London could make the switch to electric if the zone was to expand further next year.

“Alongside expanding the ULEZ, it is important London’s boroughs, and the whole of the UK, is ready to meet widespread EV adoption, with sufficient electric vehicle public charging infrastructure.”

He also highlighted how more investment is needed for greener transport methods such as cycleways and electric buses.

This comes after a leak showed that two thirds of Londoners oppose the expansion of the ULEZ charging area.

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According to the Telegraph, 66 percent of residents oppose Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans in a count which was “circulated among senior TfL officials shortly after the consultation closed in July”.

While outright opposition fell to around 60 percent, a further 7.6 percent said the introduction of a levy should be delayed until “later”.

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, claimed: “Most rational people, all across the UK are baffled how one man can have the singular power.

“It is proven that expanding the cash grabbing ULEZ further will have a negligible reduction, if any, on roadside emissions. His own data tells him, this is the case. 

“This ill-thought-out plan is simply an easy cash grab by a virtue signalling myopic, to pay off the massive debts he has accumulated for his own political intentions. 

“All as per usual, at the inevitable expense of already high taxed and demonised drivers.”

Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons and MP for Portsmouth North, also slammed the proposed changes.

She said: “This is likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on those in the outer boroughs, and on businesses in places nearby, like those in Portsmouth. 

“This is poor timing given the pressures small firms and families are under.”

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