ULEZ expansion forcing driver to pay £40,000 to avoid daily charge

Boris Johnson labels Sadiq Khan's ULEZ plan 'mad'

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On August 29, motorists will see the Ultra Low Emission Zone expand to include all London boroughs and a further five million people. This means areas like Romford, Barking and Dagenham will be encompassed by the zone, despite opposition from a number of local authorities. Some have claimed they will need to buy new pricey vehicles to avoid paying the charge.

The aforementioned areas, as well as Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, have all announced their disapproval of the expansion.

Havering is the latest borough to object to the move, with a number of residents protesting the plans and the daily charges they will bring.

A resident from Hornchurch, Kate Sunderland, said it would “disproportionately affect” the financially vulnerable, people with disabilities and families with young children.

She added: “It is unacceptable. Freedom of movement is an unalienated human right.”

It is estimated that more than 200,000 drivers of non-compliant vehicles will be impacted by the extension to London’s outer boroughs.

Petrol vehicles registered after 2006 and diesel vehicles registered since 2016 will evade the charge, under which drivers must pay £12.50 a day to enter the zone. 

A protest outside of Romford Town Hall took place earlier this month, with many of the campaigners calling for the expansion to be ditched.

One frustrated driver said her car was compliant, but her son would never be able to afford a new, compliant car, and can’t drive an old car because of the daily charge.

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Another protestor, Paul Moon, is already feeling the effects of the ULEZ expansion with his non-compliant company vehicle.

The gardener, also from Hornchurch, said he faces the ultimatum of paying the daily £12.50 charge or replacing the company van, which could cost him between £35,000 and £40,000.

The 57-year-old told Essex Live: “If I pay the £12.50 a day unfortunately that is going to have to get passed on to all the other clients that we work for sadly. 

“I have changed one [vehicle] recently it took me one year from the day I put the deposit down to bringing the vehicle into the country.

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“So If I do change the vehicle I am probably looking at 18 months for another vehicle to replace that one.

“All these trades are going to be putting their prices up or not working in this local area.”

Mr Moon claimed that the ULEZ expansion was “more about control” rather than trying to reduce emissions in the capital.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been insistent on expanding the zone to slash the amount of pollution and protect Londoners from harmful illnesses.

He recently claimed that if no additional action is taken, around 550,000 more Londoners would develop diseases attributable to air pollution over the next 30 years.

This would “condemn a generation of children to ill-health” and cost the NHS and social care system in the region of £10.4billion.

Mr Khan recently called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to double the £110million scrappage scheme for London residents.

The Government has helped fund scrappage schemes for the launch of Clean Air Zones in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol and Manchester, but not for any ULEZ expansion.

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