London’s emergency services are struggling to meet the proposed earlier deadline for complying with London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), forcing them to bring forward vehicle replacements or face paying the daily charge.
According to a FOI request by London Assembly member Shaun Bailey, all three emergency services face significant financial and logistical implications from the proposed move to a 2019 introduction for the ULEZ.
The FOI request found that the Met Police will need to replace 82% of its fleet – all its diesel vehicles – to comply with the deadline. However despite a replacement programme, financial restraints mean that by 2020 – the original date for the ULEZ introduction – it will still have 800 non-compliant vehicles facing daily charges and tight budgets mean it is unlikely to be able to replace the vehicles early.
The London Fire Brigade has said it is faced with paying the daily charge on 52 non-compliant vehicles if the ULEZ is introduce in 2019, potentially costing a quarter of a million pounds per year while the ambulance service says it will have to bring forward its vehicle replacement timeline to comply with the earlier deadline and can also lock down the vehicle fleet to specific areas so that any vehicles that do not comply can be allocated elsewhere.
In response, the Mayor of London is being urged to introduce exemptions for London’s emergency services.
London Assembly member Shaun Bailey said: “It seems unbelievable that our emergency services are not exempt from this pollution tax given their whole reason for driving in London is to save lives.
“Of course it makes sense that over time they should introduce more modern vehicles to their fleet but the financial pressures the early deadline is placing on their already tight budgets could put at risk the ability to do their jobs.
“These services cannot and should not be hit with a financial burden stretching into the millions of pounds when their travel is so vital and their environmental impact so minimal.”
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