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London Mayor confirms world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone

Intended to reduce most harmful vehicle exhaust pollutants by more than half, the zone will require vehicles travelling in Central London to meet new emission standards (see below) 24 hours a day, seven days a week or pay a daily charge.

Michèle Dix, managing director of planning at Transport for London, said: “London’s air quality has an impact on the health of every person living in this city which is why addressing emissions from road transport is such a priority. The ULEZ is a feasible and effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too.

"We believe that giving owners of non-compliant vehicles more than five years to prepare means that they have fair warning to decide whether to change their vehicle to one that meets the emissions standards of the zone or pay a daily charge.”

The ULEZ will require:

  • Cars and small vans – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from 1 September 2015 so 5 years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from 1 January 2006 so 14 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles could still drive in the zone but they will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50;
  • Large vans and minibuses – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from 1 September 2016 so 4 years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from 1 January 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50;
  • Heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches – Euro VI (registered from 1 January 2014 so 6 years old or less in 2020 except TfL buses which are required to meet a higher standard). Non- compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £100;
  • Motorcycles and similar vehicles – Euro 3 (registered from 1 July 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

The Mayor and TfL said that they have “intentionally confirmed the emission standards over five years in advance of the introduction of the ULEZ in September 2020 to give sufficient warning and preparation time to affected drivers as well as to accelerate the take up of low emission vehicles and stimulate the low emission vehicle market”.

They also announced that residents living in the Ultra Low Emission Zone would have a three-year ‘sunset period’, ensuring that they do not need to comply with the emissions standards until September 2023.

TfL added that it will continue to lobby the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for further funding from its £500m funding pot to support the uptake of zero emission capable vehicles and put in place supporting charging infrastructure. This includes applying for funding from the new national £20m pot specifically for taxis and private hire vehicles, announced today.

Detailed plans for the new rapid charging network in London, on which TfL is working closely with key stakeholders, including boroughs and taxi and private hire trade organisations, are expected to be published later this year.

The move comes as Boris Johnson also announces an increased fund of £65m to help support London taxi drivers’ transition to zero emission capable taxis. This is in addition to £40m already committed by the Mayor to assist taxi drivers whose vehicles would be affected by tighter age limits to retire the oldest, most polluting taxis.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 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. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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