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Early introduction of London Ultra Low Emission Zone to impact diesels

Diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards are to be impacted under plans by the Mayor of London for the early introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

smog - credit London Assembly
ULEZ may be extended for buses and lorries. Image credit: London Assembly

Under the proposals – which are now open for consultation until 25 June – the central London ULEZ, which would cover the same area as the existing congestion charging zone, would go live from April 2019 – a year ahead of original plans under Boris Johnson – and would also apply to petrol vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 standards. At the time of introduction, this would approximately equate to diesel cars more than four years old and petrol cars more than 13 years old. According to estimates, the scheme would reduce road transport NOx emissions by nearly 50% in 2020.

The Mayor is also looking to expand the ULEZ London-wide for buses, coaches and lorries from 2020 and extended up to the North & South Circular for cars, vans, minibuses and motorbikes from 2021, subject to a separate consultation.

The Mayor added that the Central London ULEZ would replace the £10 T-Charge, which is already confirmed to start in October 2017.

Unlike the Congestion Charge, the ULEZ daily fee would apply 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and would be levied in addition to the Congestion Charge. The rates would be set at £12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 for buses, coaches and HGVs. With the congestion charge added, if applicable, the charge for a non-compliant car would stand at £24 a day.

In a statement, the Mayor said the timescales would provide affected businesses and individuals with sufficient time to prepare for the new standards. However, recent analysis  by London Assembly member Shaun Bailey has found that London’s emergency services would to meet the proposed earlier deadline, forcing them to bring forward vehicle replacements or face paying the daily charge.

Meanwhile the RAC has previously that bringing in the ULEZ a year early could unfairly penalise small businesses with older vehicles, as well as less well-off private motorists.

Speaking at the time, head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “Small firms operating in the capital now face a real challenge and need to start planning for the changes announced by the mayor changes now – either by gradually refreshing their fleets or by considering leasing, which ensures vehicles supplied will be compliant and potentially more cost effective in the long term.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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