August 29 Sees London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone Covering All Boroughs

The anticipated expansion of the ULEZ in London has been confirmed as taking place on the 29th of August, 2023. According to the office of the mayor, the expansion should reduce NOx emissions in outer London created by vans and cars by 10%. PM emissions are set to be cut by 16% across the boroughs because of the expansion. It also predicts that the current 42,000 vans that do not meet the standards and are used on London streets daily will drop to closer to 26,000 as people either upgrade their vans to avoid the costs or simply look for alternatives to avoid coming into the area.

The Rules

The rules will remain the same, so no matter what borough of London you travel in, if your van or truck does not meet the standards, it will be charged £12.50 per day for entering the area any day at any time there is no weekend respite, and it applies 24 hours a day. The charges are levied on the residence, and in the central London area, this charge is applied alongside the congestion charge. The congestion charge will not apply outside the central London zone, so it will simply be the ULEZ charge that companies must pay.

Currently, the minimum emission standards are Euro 6 NOx and PM emissions for diesel vehicles and Euro 4 NOx for petrol vehicles. Since 2016 it should not have been possible to purchase any new diesel vehicle that does not meet these standards. The standard for petrol vehicles was set in January 2006, so it is only older vehicles that would fail to meet the standards and therefore have the charges levied.

Progress in Air Quality

While many consider the scheme to be unfair, progress has definitely been made in improving the air quality in the capital over the last six years. The problem is now the outer boroughs where statistics show the greatest number of deaths that can be attributed to evolution issues occur. Over 85% of vehicles, including vans using outer London roads, do already meet the standard, so it should not be that impactful for that money. At the moment, road usage creates 28% of London's carbon emissions, so a 10% cut will see this drop to 18% if the predictions from the mayor's office are correct.

Finally, in an effort to help anyone with an order van or minibus upgrade to meet the standards from the 30th of January 2023 scrappage scheme will be available. This applies to sole traders, charities and micro businesses, which are defined as those with less than 10 members of staff. If this group of people choose to scrap a van, they can apply for a £5000 grant or a £7000 grant if they are scrapping a minibus. They can also apply for a £5000 grant to retrofit certain vehicles or a grant of £7500 for vans and £9500 for minibuses if they are being replaced with a fully electric vehicle.

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