Last reviewed 17 March 2022
Transport for London (TfL) has been asked by Mayor Sadiq Khan to consult on expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) London-wide in 2023.
With nearly 4000 premature deaths a year caused by toxic emissions from traffic, the Mayor highlighted that the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution are found in London’s outer boroughs, which the ULEZ does not currently cover.
He also pointed out that all hospitals, medical centres and care homes across the capital are located in areas that breach the newly-updated World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.
With vehicle congestion costing the capital £5.1 billion last year, leading to grid-locked traffic and air pollution, Mr Khan insisted that there will have to be a significant shift away from petrol and diesel vehicle use, towards walking, cycling, greater public transport use and cleaner vehicles.
His further belief is that the long-term and fairest solution to these challenges will ultimately be smart road user charging, which would allow all existing road user charges, such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ, to be scrapped and replaced with a smarter, simpler and fairer scheme that charges motorists on a per mile basis.
However, TfL is still many years away from being ready to implement such a scheme and, after analysing the data and considering the wider economic context, it has been decided that the current preferred option is to extend the ULEZ London-wide to the London LEZ boundary in 2023, subject to a public and stakeholder consultation.
“I believe the proposal to extend the ULEZ London-wide will have the biggest effect on emissions and congestion relative to the potential financial impact on Londoners as a whole,” Mr Khan said. “We are also proposing to introduce the biggest scrappage scheme feasible to help Londoners on low incomes, disabled Londoners and businesses.”
Additionally, the Mayor has also ruled out both the Clean Air Charge and the Greater London Boundary Charge as options.