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Low emissions zone arrives in Waltham Forest

The long-anticipated Ulez expansion begins today
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A banner celebrating the Ulez expansion in Islington (Mums4Lungs)
A banner celebrating the Ulez expansion in Islington (Mums4Lungs)

The extension of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) starts today.

Ulez now covers all areas within the North Circular Road – but not the road itself – and an estimated 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries could be affected.

Drivers whose vehicles do not meet the low emissions standards will have to pay£12.50 per trip inside the zone. Failure to pay the charge could result in fines of up to £160.

However, more than eight out of ten vehicles driven in the zone already comply.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London’s toxic air is a health crisis causing long-lasting harm to our children and contributing to thousands of premature deaths.

“The Ultra Low Emission Zone has already cut nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half in central London and the expansion of the zone means many more Londoners across the city will enjoy the benefits of cleaner, healthier air.

“We need bold action to clean up London’s air and while it’s encouraging that four out of five vehicles now meet the current standards and won’t have to pay the Ulez charge, I advise all drivers to use the TfL checker to make sure your vehicle is Ulez compliant.

“Our scrappage scheme will continue supporting motorists to ditch their polluting cars and make the switch to greener forms of transport as we drive towards a green recovery.”

More than a million letters have been sent to those seen driving in the area and more than 600,000 leaflets have been sent to residents living close to the boundary.

Drivers have been supported in making the transition with the mayor’s £61million scrappage scheme. To date more than 12,000 older polluting cars, vans, minibuses and HGVs have been taken off the road or retrofitted.

TfL is also greening its own fleet with more than 500 zero-emission buses on the city’s streets with more than 4,000 iconic black cabs now using electric.

Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, said: “The benefits of the larger Ulez won’t just be felt from day one of its operation. Compliance with the tough standards has more than doubled since the mayor announced the plans, with the result being Londoners breathing cleaner air over the last four years.

“We don’t want drivers to get caught out on the 25th October, so we are advising people to use our checker to see if their vehicle meets the standards. If they are liable for the charge we would ask them to consider using public transport, or to walk or cycle if possible, and if they need to drive, consider using a car club whose fleets are fully Ulez compliant, or switching to the cleanest vehicle.”

Of more than 1,600 respondents who took part in the online poll on the Ulez website, 64% drivers said they would be staying behind the wheel despite the new boundaries while 36% admitted they would consider using public transport instead.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC, said: “While the majority will be unaffected by the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, around a fifth of vehicles don’t comply, so it’s vital drivers of cars, small vans and motorbikes use the TfL checker before 25th October or be prepared to pay a £12.50 daily charge.

“Drivers should also remember that the Ulez, including the new expanded zone, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Check your vehicle: Visit tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle