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ULEZ expansion one month on: 97% of non-compliant vehicles paid the charge or were exempt

A month from its launch, a new report has examined the impact of the expansion of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, and its findings suggest  that it achieving what Sadiq Khan set out to do.

The use of non-polluting vehicles in the areas newly covered by the ULEZ has fallen by 10% points since May 2022, from 95% to 85%. Furthermore, since the expansion, the percentage of compliant vehicles in outer London has nearly caught up with the numbers in inner London. 

Across inner and outer London, 95% of vehicles on an average day now comply with the ULEZ emissions standards, as compared with 39% in February 2017 when the Toxicity Charge – the precursor of the ULEZ – was introduced.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I’ve always said that the decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult, but a month on from the expansion we can already see that it is working. London is now home to the world’s largest clean air zone and this new data shows 95 per cent of vehicles seen driving in London on an average day now comply with our air quality standards.

‘More than 19 in 20 vehicles on London’s roads are now compliant and do not need to pay the daily ULEZ charge. For the remaining Londoners still driving non-compliant vehicles, millions of pounds of scrappage scheme support is still available. Take-up has been incredible, with 37,256 grants approved for Londoners to date for the outer London expansion alone, and I encourage anyone affected by the ULEZ to apply today for support.’

Outer London vehicle compliance jumped remarkably, once the scheme was launched on 29th August. In June, compliance rates across all vehicles driving in outer London was at 90.9%. Three months later, this had shot up to 95.2%.

The first month saw a 14% reduction in the number of diesel cars overall. Compliance rates for diesel cars increased by 12.5% points to 83% between June 2023 and September 2023.

Four the first four weeks of the expansion, drivers of non-compliant vehicles were only issued with warning notices, these being replaced by Penalty Charge Notices (PNCs) on 26th September. On day one, over 12,000 warnings were issued, falling to 5,895 on day two and 1,976 by the end of the four weeks.

Data only exists for the first five days of PCNs being issued, but the numbers of fines handed out increased day-by-day, from 1,876 on 26th to 4,086 four days later. 

On an average day between 29th August and 30th September, TfL estimate that around 93,700 unique, non-compliant vehicles were detected in the zone. Of these:

  • 61% paid the charge
  • 3 % were issued with a warning notice or, thereafter, a PCN
  • 36% were non-chargeable – vehicles that benefit from a grace period, vehicles that benefit from one of the exemptions or discounts, vehicles that had already received a warning notice within the last 28 days, vehicles that were detected on a diversion route, and vehicles for which no enforcement action could be taken based on available data.

Hirra Khan Adeogun, Co-Director of climate charity Possible said: ‘This new report shows that taking action to cut traffic and tackle air pollution has brought huge benefits to millions more Londoners. This success should give politicians from all parties courage in their conviction to go further and faster in cutting congestion that’s choking cities across the country. Let’s keep taking the dirtiest cars off the roads, and helping more people get around in greener ways.’

 

 

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