The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was introduced in the central London zone this month. But in 2021 it will cover the whole of London within the North/South Circular and there is nothing stopping the Mayor extending it to the rest of London soon after. But how many car and van drivers will be affected and have to pay the £12.50 daily charge?
To answer that question the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has done a survey of vehicles on the roads in a number of London boroughs, both within and without the North/South Circular. It showed that overall 30.2% of vehicles will be paying the ULEZ charge unless their owners buy a new vehicle before 2021.
Some vehicles would be scrapped anyway as it is estimated that 3% of cars are scrapped each year as owners replace them with new vehicles or stop driving altogether. But that still means that the vast majority of those currently using “non-compliant” cars and vans will need to buy new vehicles to avoid paying £12.50 every day. Often the people affected will be those least likely to have the money to buy new cars or vans as most of the non-compliant vehicles are older ones that the less wealthy have purchased.
Van owners are likely to be particularly hard hit because 52.3% of those were identified to be non-compliant.
Was there any difference between richer or poorer boroughs, or between those within the North/South Circular? In essence there was not which shows that those who drive within that ring road have not so far taken any notice of the impending ULEZ charge.
According to TfL provisional data from within the central zone in April show 70% of vehicles are compliant which surely demonstrates that it is having little impact on vehicle ownership as that is no different to those who drive in outer London.
It is clear that the impact of the London ULEZ charge, and other similar Clean Air Zone (CAZ) schemes in other major cities will have an enormous financial impact on vehicle owners. Most of those who will be affected seem to be unaware of what is going to hit them in their pockets very soon.
ABD Campaign Director Roger Lawson who is leading the fight against the Mayor’s tax raising measure had this to say: “There is no justification for the ULEZ scheme on environmental or health grounds. These statistics show exactly what the cost will be to Londoners. There are 2.5 million licensed cars in London alone, ignoring the large numbers who drive into London from outside. With 30% of those vehicles subject to the ULEZ charge you can see how big a money spinner the ULEZ charge will be for the Mayor and the devastating financial impact it will have on the vehicle owners if they wish to avoid paying the tax”.
There is of course no guarantee that the ULEZ scheme will not be amended to include currently compliant vehicles at a later date, or that the charge will not be increased (the Congestion Charge has more than doubled since it was first introduced). The Mayor will undoubtedly be keen to ensure the money keeps rolling in.
1. To check whether a vehicle is compliant with the ULEZ go here: https://tinyurl.com/ya4usuqr
2. For more information see this page of the ABD’s web site covering our campaign against the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the ULEZ, the financial facts and spurious environmental claims: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/environment.htm
3. The survey was taken by recording the registration numbers of 245 passing vehicles on roads in the following areas of South-East London: Blackheath, Lewisham, Charlton, Chislehurst and Plumstead (the first two being within the North/South Circular, the latter outside). Only cars and vans were recorded. The registration number was later checked for whether the vehicle is complaint or not using the aforementioned link. There was no statistically significant variation between the locations although wealthier locations showed a slightly higher proportion of non-compliant vehicles (33.3%) perhaps because there is a higher proportion of relatively new, but not very new, diesel vehicles owned by residents in those areas.