Signage indicates the boundary of London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) zone along the North Circular Road ahead of proposed upcoming expansion, in London,
Photo : REUTERS
Boris Johnson’s Mayoral successor, Sadiq Khan
introduced the zone early in April 2019. He went on to extend the zone to cover the area within the North Circular and South Circular roads In October 2021 and in August 2023 it was extended to cover Greater London.
Transport for London website
To help clear London’s air, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ
) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day. The zone operates across all London boroughs and does not include the M25.
If your vehicle doesn’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards and isn’t exempt, you need to pay a ?12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone. This applies to cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes).
Lorries, vans or specialist heavy vehicles (all over 3.5 tonnes) and buses, minibuses and coaches (all over 5 tonnes) do not need to pay the ULEZ charge. They will need to pay the LEZ charge if they do not meet the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) emissions standard.
ULEZ has reduced the number of non-compliant cars on the road and with it, roadside emissions. It has raised a lot of money for the city, collecting ?224m in 2022 alone.
Opponents dispute the effectiveness of ULEZ in improving air quality, pointing out that the impact has been minimal and that the air quality in the London Underground sits at the same level as overground. Some questioning tongue-in-cheek whether the mayor would therefore shut down the Underground.
Opponents point out that the worst affected are the less well off, people who can’t afford to upgrade their vehicles to newer, compliant models are being hit hard in the pocket with the ?12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone.
A segment of disaffected Londoners has taken to disabling the ULEZ cameras and their popularity has been steadily rising. They call themselves “Bladerunners” and their supporters post pictures of disabled cameras on social media. Bladerunners recently put out a claim to have disabled 1,000 ULEZ cameras. In response to the disabling of fixed cameras, Sadiq Khan has introduced van mounted cameras. These vans are now having to be towed away with their tyres “mysteriously” deflating and/or their windscreens sprayed over with paint.