‘Real risk’ half a million drivers will be priced out of city travel after car tax changes

Sadiq Khan outlines why ULEZ has come into force in London

Car tax updates in 2021 will see the introduction of new Clean Air Zones (CAZ) which will leave thousands of drivers forced to pay more to travel. London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will expand to many Outer London boroughs from October.

Meanwhile, Birmingham will also launch a new CAZ from June which will see owners of polluting models charged £8 per day to use their vehicles.

AA President Edmund King has warned there is a “real risk” many drivers will no longer be able to afford to use their cars.

He said: “Later this year, millions of drivers in London will find themselves on the wrong side of the road when the ULEZ scheme is expanded.

“There is a very real risk that many people who rely on their car for essential journeys will be priced off the road.

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“With the whole country back in lockdown, this is likely to have an even bigger impact than previously thought as more people will be trying to avoid public transport by using private cars.”

The new London charge will mean residents will be issued an extra £12.50 charge to use roads around where they live.

Among Inner London’s 2019 car population, 163,700 cars are likely to be non-compliant.

The new charge will add an extra 91,200 cars to this list from areas such as Barnet, Brent, Greenwich and Waltham Forest.

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Thousands more in lesser affected areas such as Richmond, Redbridge and Hounslow will also be affected by the charges.

This will bring the total number of accepted cars owned by London residents to between 250,000 and 300,000.

An AA Populus Survey found 24 percent of London members say their petrol cars are non-compliant with ULEZ rules.

A further 20 percent of diesel car members said they were also not-compliant with the restrictions.

It is estimated 100,000 extra cars will also be affected by a ULEZ increase with thousands travelling into parts of Outer London every day for work.

Over 100,000 cars are also set to be affected by the new Birmingham charge with up to 124,000 diesel vehicles and 40,500 petrol cars incompatible with the new rules.

The AA has launched a new initiative to help its members avoid the hefty new clean air charges.

The new AA Smart Lease product offers flexible access to vehicles which are compliant with the new restrictions so drivers can avoid heavy charges.

The AA warns running a new electric car could fall as low as £10 per day which would work out instantly cheaper than the new London charge.

Edmund King added: “For those drivers who were already considering the switch to electric, being able to lease one which includes the insurance, service and repairs, for a similar cost to paying the charge, could be a lifeline.

“It enables them to dip their toe into running an electric car, without any upfront costs – as well as helping improve air quality.”

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