Ultra Low Emission Zone expands London-wide in a landmark moment for the capital.
- ULEZ expands London-wide from today (29 August) and is set to enable five million more Londoners to breathe cleaner air
- Mayor says expanding ULEZ was a difficult but necessary decision in order to save lives, protect the health of children and tackle the climate crisis
- Mayor says clean air zones like the ULEZ are the most effective tool available to quickly and meaningfully cut air pollution in a city like London and vows to continue being ‘a doer, not a delayer’ when it comes to taking bold climate action
- All Londoners with non-compliant vehicles can now apply for financial support to scrap them – with more than 15,000 applications received in the last week alone
- Nearly £60 million has already been committed in advance of the ULEZ expansion to Londoners, charities and businesses to scrap or retrofit their vehicles. With £100 million still left in the fund, the Mayor encourages Londoners who may still have a non-compliant vehicle to apply for the support available
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has with effect from today (29 August 2023) expanded the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) London-wide in a landmark moment that will help to make London a greener, healthier city. The new zone now covers every London borough and will bring cleaner air to five million more people and is also expected to reduce carbon emissions in outer London by a further 27,000 tonnes.
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, WHO Breathe Life Ambassador, said: “Today, 10 1/2 years after my daughter Ella died, ULEZ is rolling out across London. For the last 28 months of her life Ella suffered horrendously. Her KC Richard Herman equated it to torture. That is why it is crucial that the experts in Ella’s second inquest are listened to and ULEZ is implemented London-wide, so no child will ever suffer and die like she had to, due to illegal levels of pollution on the South Circular.”
The Mayor will say today that the decision to expand the ULEZ was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect the health of Londoners and tackle the climate crisis. Toxic air is leading to children growing up with stunted lungs, an increased risk of asthma, cancer and dementia and around 4,000 premature deaths every year in London. The Mayor has vowed again today to continue being ‘a doer, not a delayer’ when it comes to reducing air pollution and taking bold climate action.
The ULEZ is the centrepiece of a range of measures the Mayor is implementing to tackle London’s toxic air, including putting a record number of zero-emission buses on the roads and making London’s electric vehicle charging network the largest of any city in Europe. These additional measures are making a real difference, but all the evidence shows that clean air zones like the ULEZ are the most effective tool available to quickly and meaningfully cut air pollution in a city like London, having already reduced air pollution in central London by almost 50% and in inner London by a fifth.
A major public awareness campaign has been underway for eight months to ensure drivers and businesses are ready for the ULEZ expansion today, with TfL’s online vehicle checker being used more than thirteen million times during this period.
ULEZ is a highly targeted scheme that helps to take the most polluting vehicles off London’s roads. Ninety percent of cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant and their drivers will not have to pay the charge but will see the benefits of cleaner air. Having continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners, the Mayor and TfL have massively expanded the scrappage scheme so that every single Londoner affected by ULEZ can now access thousands of pounds of support in addition to the scrappage value of their old polluting vehicle.
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All Londoners with non-compliant cars can now get £2,000 for scrapping a car or £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle. Small businesses and charities can now receive increased grant payments of between £6,000 and £11,500. Eligible charities, businesses and sole traders can now apply for up to three vans or minibuses to be scrapped or retrofitted in total. And the payment for wheelchair accessible vehicles has increased from £5,000 to £10,000, with grants of £6,000 available to retrofit a van to ULEZ standards. A number of mitigations have also been made for different groups, including exemptions for disabled people and wheelchair accessible vehicles until October 2027 – and new six-month grace periods also recognise that small businesses and charities are doing the right thing and adapting to the ULEZ but may face a delay with receiving their new vehicle or retrofit appointment.
It can be revealed today that since opening the scrappage scheme up to all Londoners, there has been a significant spike in the number of people applying for support, with a 111 per cent increase in traffic to the scrappage website since 21 August 2023. There have already been more than 15,000 applications received since 21 August, and nearly £6m of new funds committed to Londoners. The number of scrappage applications for cars and motorcycles since 21 August is up more than 1,000 per cent on the previous week.
In total, the scrappage scheme has resulted in:
- Nealy £60m committed to Londoners to help them transition to greener alternatives, including more than £14m to scrap cars and motorcycles and more than £45m to scrap vans and minibuses.
- More than 14,000 applications being approved to scrap the most polluting vehicles, with tens of thousands being processed.
The total amount the Mayor has invested in the scrappage scheme for the ULEZ expansion is £160m, the most generous scrappage scheme ever seen in the UK. The Mayor previously committed more then £60m for the central London and inner London ULEZ. There is still £100 million of funding available so the Mayor is encouraging Londoners with non ULEZ-compliant vehicles to come forward to get the financial support on offer, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Mayor continues to call on the Government to fund scrappage in London and the Home Counties, as they have done for other cities across the UK.
- The scrappage scheme was expanded on 21 August. This means all Londoners with an eligible non-compliant car or motorcycle can now apply to scrap a non-compliant car for £2,000 or £1,000 for a motorcycle, or a higher value package of up to two bus and tram passes plus a lower grant. Charities, small businesses and sole traders are able to apply to scrap up to three vehicles (up from one). It also means people can apply for:
- Grants for scrapping a non-compliant van (increased from £5,000 to £7,000)
- Grants for scrapping wheelchair accessible vehicles (increased from £5,000 to £10,000)
- Grants for scrapping minibuses (increased from £7,000 to £9,000)
- Grants to replace a non-compliant van with an electric van (increased from £7,500 to £9,500)
- Grants to replace a non-compliant minibus with an electric minibus (increased from £9,500 to £11,500)
- Retrofit grants – increased from £5,000 to £6,000, typically enough to cover the whole cost of retrofitting a van or minibus.
- Full business and charity grace period application and end date changes are as follows:
- Retrofit/ new vehicle order must have been made before 29 November 2023 (previously 29 August 2023)
- Retrofit grace period (maximum) end date: 29 May 2024 (previously 29 November 2023)
- Replacement vehicle (maximum) end date: 29 May 2024 (previously 29 February 2024)
- There are thousands of ULEZ-compliant cars available to buy online for £2,000.
- Unlike other cities across the country, London has not received any support from the Government to help people to switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.
- More information on the scrappage scheme is here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/scrappage-schemes
The ULEZ has already proven to be transformational in London, cutting harmful nitrogen dioxide by nearly half in central London and by a fifth in inner London, helping to reduce the number of air pollution-related asthma admissions for children by a third, and saving 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2019 (the equivalent of 1.1 million flights from London to New York).
Any net revenue raised through the ULEZ will be reinvested back into public transport, including on the expansion of bus services in outer London. The ULEZ is expected not to raise any net revenue by the 2026/2027 financial year as the percentage of compliant vehicles continues to rise.
TfL’s Auto Pay service has also reached a significant milestone. Over one million users are signed up to the scheme which is now free to register for. For those registered there is no need to remember to pay charges when driving in London, including when the ULEZ expands on 29 August, as the payment is taken automatically from their account so they won’t be issued with a penalty charge notice.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is a landmark day for our city which will lead to a greener, healthier London for everyone. The decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues.
“All the evidence shows that it’s clean air zones like ULEZ that are the gamechanger in a city like London when it comes to cutting toxic air quickly and meaningfully to protect people’s health. It’s thanks to the ULEZ that we are now set to get London’s air to within legal limits in the next couple of years, 184 years earlier than previously projected.
“As Mayor, I’ve continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners, which is why we have massively expanded the scrappage scheme. This means all Londoners with non ULEZ-compliant cars can now get financial support to switch to greener, less polluting alternatives. We still have millions of pounds left in the scrappage scheme pot, so I encourage all Londoners who are impacted by ULEZ to apply today for the support we’ve made available. I continue to call on the Government to give London and Home Counties money for scrappage, as they have other cities around the UK.
“I’m determined to continue being a doer, not a delayer when it comes to reducing air pollution and taking bold climate action. The easiest thing for me to do would have been to kick the can down the road, but we simply don’t have time to waste. I am not prepared to stand idly by when we have the ability to save lives and help tackle the climate crisis.”
Christina Calderato, TfL’s Director of Strategy and Policy said: “Today is a major milestone for cleaner air in the capital as the scheme expands London-wide. The expansion will play a significant role in our fight against the triple challenges of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion. We know that clearing up the air in the capital is vital, as thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses due to pollution, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma. The ULEZ expansion to all London boroughs will help a further 5 million people living in outer London who suffer from the impacts of air pollution.
“Although the vast majority of those driving in the zone will not have to pay the ULEZ charge, the Mayor’s £160m scrappage scheme remains open with millions of pounds left available for all Londoners with non-compliant cars and motorcycles to apply for, to help remove the most polluting vehicles from the roads. Sole traders and small businesses in London can benefit from increased scrappage payments for vans from £5,000 to £7,000, and can now scrap up to three vehicles. Payments to retrofit a van, minibus or wheelchair accessible vehicle have also been increased to cover the full cost of adapting the vehicle. We’ve already seen a surge in visits to our online vehicle checker this week and continue to allocate significant sums through the scrappage scheme as we help Londoners to prepare. We advise all drivers planning to travel into and around the capital to check the TfL website to see if they will be affected by today’s ULEZ expansion and to understand the range of support available to them.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, said: “Today’s ULEZ expansion marks a key moment in London’s fight to tackle air pollution. Simply put, air pollution is deadly. All of London, including the outer London boroughs, exceed the WHO guidelines for NO2 and PM2.5 pollution and these outer boroughs have the highest number of premature deaths due to toxic air. We’ve already seen the health benefits to Londoners from the central London ULEZ, and it’s about time every single Londoner had a chance to breathe cleaner air. This is a crucial step to reducing the health impacts and inequalities seen across communities now and in the future.”
Dr. Emma Radcliffe, an East London GP said: “As a GP in East London, I see day to day the things that are taking a toll on Londoners’ physical and mental wellbeing - and toxic air is one of them. No one should have to leave their home feeling worried about the air they breathe, especially when we can do something about it. That’s why I’m pleased to see ULEZ officially rolled-out today. It’s a huge win for every Londoners’ health. I know that with the cost-of-living crisis some people have been worried about what it means for them financially, that’s why it’s also been great to see that more support is being offered to all Londoners to get polluting vehicles off the road. Cleaner air is within touching distance!”
Dr. Anna Moore, Respiratory Consultant at a London hospital said: “As a mother, a doctor and a Londoner, I’m proud to see just how seriously London is taking its commitment to tackling air quality in order to safeguard the health and future of our city’s children. Each breath of air is precious. For those with respiratory conditions, cleaner air makes all the difference. This policy is fighting for every single Londoner’s right to breathe air that will nurture our lungs, not poison them.”
Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive, Asthma & Lung UK, said: “We are pleased that the much-needed expansion of ULEZ is going ahead today, as planned. This is a milestone moment for public health in the city and cleaning up London’s toxic air.
“Schemes like ULEZ are proven to effectively lower air pollution – a public health emergency contributing to 4,000 early deaths in London every year. ULEZ tackles air pollution caused by vehicles quickly, and its expansion means a reduction in harmful air pollution for everyone.
“More than 60% of people with a lung condition in London live in the outer boroughs. Air pollution triggers symptoms including breathlessness, coughing and wheezing, and in more severe cases these flare-ups result in hospitalisation. Expanding ULEZ across the whole city will help protect the lung health of millions of people, every day.”
Dr Chinthika Piyasena, Consultant Neonatologist in London said: “There is mounting evidence that air pollution is linked pregnancy complications that can have lifelong consequences for babies. Air pollution particles can cross the placenta, and this increases the risk of stillbirth, or babies being born too early or too small. Studies have also shown that exposure to toxic air during pregnancy is associated with altered structure of the newborn brain. ULEZ is a chance to clean up our city’s air and protect life at its most fragile. Pregnant women and babies will be healthier for it.”
Oliver Lord, Head of Clean Cities Campaign in the UK said: “We all want to see an end to the terrible impacts of air pollution on our health and the ULEZ expansion is a welcome step in the right direction. Reducing the number of polluting vehicles in our cities will especially help to improve the health of marginalised communities and those who struggle to breathe when the air is dangerously polluted. Their voices have not been heard enough.
“I haven’t met a single person who wants to drive a dirty vehicle and pollute their own community but it can often be a necessity in the UK and that’s what we urgently need to fix. As the ULEZ expands, our leaders should be working together, not against, to help struggling households by providing cheaper, convenient and greener alternatives to driving a polluting car, such as safer cycling routes, more electric buses and car sharing rental schemes.”
John Dickie, Chief Executive of BusinessLDN, said: “The ULEZ expansion will play an important role in making London’s air cleaner and saving lives across the capital. It will also make the city a more attractive place to live, work and visit. We urge businesses and households to take advantage of the extended scrappage scheme, which will help them make the transition.”