Drivers ‘set up to fail’ under ‘disastrous’ ULEZ expansion plans with £12.50 daily fee

Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion is 'appalling' says Norris

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There are plans to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in August 2023 to include most of Greater London in a bid to reduce emissions. Gareth Bacon, Conservative MP for Orpington, has written to London Mayor Sadiq Khan calling on him to scrap the plans to expand the charging zone.

He launched a petition which attracted the support of 11,736 signatures from residents of his constituency.

It has been described as “an overwhelming response” and includes signatories from other parts of the London Borough of Bromley and neighbouring Kent.

The proposed expansion would see extending the scheme’s boundary from the North and South Circular Roads to the whole of Greater London.

An extra 3.5 million people will live within the ULEZ if the area is expanded as planned, which could see thousands of drivers being charged £12.50 just to drive.

Mr Bacon, who was previously a London Assembly member, said the expansion would have “disastrous consequences” for people and businesses who rely on vehicles without adequate public transport options.

He wrote: “Drivers are already struggling with spiralling petrol and diesel prices, energy bills, and inflation driven by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and post-pandemic economic turbulence. 

“The cost of new and second-hand vehicles is also at record highs. Few people can afford your daily ULEZ charge, let alone a compliant car.

“With no London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, or the new Elizabeth Line, it’s no surprise that 83 percent of Orpington households own a vehicle and rely on driving.

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“For people who rely on their car to go to work or run their business five days a week, ULEZ is an effective pay cut of around £3,137 a year.

“It will hit low-income workers and public service staff, including teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters, many of whom live outside Greater London and drive into our city for work.

“Your proposal deliberately sets people up to fail.”

He suggested that the estimated £200milion budget for the new camera network could be used on “targeted air pollution solutions” including electric buses, charging points and better public transport.

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New research has found that one in three motorists plan to sell their vehicle in the next six months because of the ULEZ expansion.

A further three in five Londoners have admitted to being worried about how the expansion of the emissions-based charging zone will affect their finances.

According to the data, from Motorway, Londoners are growing increasingly concerned about the expansion.

The cost-of-living crisis means two thirds of motorists can’t afford to switch to an electric vehicle or compliant petrol car.

Alex Buttle, co-founder of the online used-car marketplace, said: “The cost of petrol and diesel, along with the cost of living, are rising fast. 

“This coupled with the extension of the ULEZ in London, means more urban drivers are questioning their current car and driving habits. 

“We’ve seen a 21 percent rise in diesel cars being sold on Motorway since last month and the research revealed many more motorists will be looking to sell in the next six months due to the likely expansion of ULEZ to cover the whole of the city.”

Through the research, it was found that more than one third of those in the capital were unaware of the proposed changes in August 2023.

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