By Sara Valle-Martínez
Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will cover whole of Greater London from 29 August 2023.
Drivers will face a daily fee of £12.50 for using London’s roads from next year, as part of the mayor’s attempt to clean up the city’s toxic air and tackle the climate emergency.
“I think it’s another example of the mitigation of pollution being pushed on the people who can’t really afford it without alternative avenues being provided to them,” said Patrick Campbell, 40, a student who cycles to university every day.
“I think they’ve got the stick right but maybe not the carrot,” he added.
The expansion means five million more Londoners will breathe cleaner air, as shown by London Assembly’s report.
When announcing the newest expansion, Khan said: “The latest evidence shows that air pollution is making us sick from cradle to the grave. Londoners are developing life-changing illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia, and asthma. And it’s especially dangerous for children,” as reported by the Guardian.
The expansion of the ULEZ area will be accompanied by a brand new £110m scrappage scheme to support Londoners on lower incomes, disabled Londoners, charities, and small businesses and sole traders.
But some people disagree with the mayor’s plan. The leaked results of a public consultation found 80% of people in the affected areas are opposed to the proposed expansion.
“It’s just revenue, like all the road closures,” said John Selby, 50, owner of 84 Autoparts on Holloway Road. “The traffic is worse now than it ever has been because they’ve closed off all the side roads.”
“If you make public transport a lot cheaper, like half the price, people will give up their cars because there’s a viable alternative,” he added. “I’m lucky I can afford to have a car and use public transport. People can’t afford both. Public transport is a fortune.”
Khan’s plan also includes the biggest ever expansion of the bus network in outer London, with new services and improvements that will add over one million further kilometres to the current network.