19 May 2021
Having been recently re-elected to a second term in office, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has wasted little time in reaffirming his commitment to expanding the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in October this year.
The expanded Zone will cover an area 18 times larger than the central London ULEZ and will affect older, more polluting vehicles that do not comply with strict emission standards. Although around 80% of cars are already thought to be compliant, it is estimated that 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3000 lorries could be affected every day by the expanded zone and tighter standards.
According to the Mayor, the central London ULEZ has been transformational since its introduction in April 2019, helping to reduce roadside concentrations of the poisonous gas nitrogen dioxide in the central zone by nearly half. Expansion will, he said, extend these benefits to millions of Londoners, both inside and outside the expanded zone.
Jemima Hartshorn, Founder of Mums for Lungs, said: “Mums for Lungs has campaigned for an expansion of the ULEZ for over three years now, so we are glad that this scheme will be implemented very soon. The ULEZ in central London has really reduced NO2-pollution across the area, and more children will benefit from ULEZ expansion.”
While significant progress has been made, with a substantial reduction in the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding legal limits for NO2, tens of thousands of Londoners still breathe illegally polluted air and 99% live in areas exceeding the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended guidelines for PM2.5, which are much tighter than the legal standards.
From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ will expand to operate up to the north and south circular roads. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas Day (25 December).
Together with the new vehicle standards for the London-wide Low Emission Zone for large and heavy vehicles, introduced early this year, these schemes will set London on track for achieving compliance with legal limits by 2025 at the latest.