United-Kingdom

London mayor extends ultra low emission zone in green transport push

Drivers of polluting vehicles in Greater London will face a charge from next August according to plans announced on Friday that will cover more than double the area covered by the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said the measure aimed to improve air quality in the capital, tackle climate change and ease congestion. The City’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) covers all areas within the North and South Ring Roads that border central London.

The extension will extend Owleys to the outer limits of Greater London from 29 August next year. The area is already covered by the London Low Emission Zone, which ships the most polluting trucks and buses.

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The announcement follows a consultation process after the plans were initially laid out in March.

The Ollies scheme applies a daily charge of £12.50 to vehicles that do not meet standards designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, including harmful nitrous oxides.

The system aims to encourage drivers to either replace their existing non-compliant vehicles with cleaner ones or switch to public transport.

A City of London monitoring report published in July said that roadside pollution levels in central London were 44 per cent lower than if OOLs had not been introduced. In inner London, outside the congestion zone, it was 20 per cent lower.

The Ulez fee applies to petrol cars with an engine older than Euro 4 – generally those built before 2006 – and diesel cars with an engine older than Euro 6, usually before 2015. The fee also targets motorcycles with engines older than Euro 3 – mostly pre-2007 – and certain types of buses, coaches and trucks.

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Khan said that the decision to expand Olease was not an easy one and that it would have been easier to “kick the can down the road”.

“As Mayor, I am not willing to turn a blind eye because it is clear that the cost of inaction – for our economy, livelihoods, the environment and the health of Londoners – will be very high,” he said.

As part of the expansion, the Greater London Authority will provide £110m in funding for the Scrapage Scheme, which offers grants for owners of non-compliant vehicles to upgrade to new cars or to buy bicycles or motor club memberships.

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Under the scheme, people who get rid of non-compliant cars will be given free passes for buses and trams as well as a stipend.

Transport for London, the body responsible for the capital’s transport network, will significantly expand the availability of bus services in Out of London, an area that currently relies more than inner boroughs on private cars.

The Oleys Scheme was initially introduced in April 2019 covering the congestion freight area of ​​Central London. It will extend to the northern and southern ring roads in October 2021.

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