Ultra Low Emission Zone: Consultation begins on expanding scheme to cover the whole of London

Cars on road in London
A consultation on plans to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone to cover the entire city has been launched.

Transport for London (TfL) has launched a consultation on plans to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to cover the entire city in 2023.

London mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing to extend the scheme’s boundary from the North and South Circular Roads to the whole of Greater London from August 29 next year.

Drivers of vehicles that don't comply with minimum emissions standards are charged a daily fee of £12.50 for entering the Ulez.

City Hall estimates an additional 135,000 vehicles will be affected per day as it aims to tackle London's “toxic air crisis”.

For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are exempt.

Mr Khan previously scrapped ideas to introduce a Clean Air Charge for certain vehicles and a proposal to charge drivers of vehicles registered outside London for entering the capital.

A transport minister said Mr Khan “must not punish people who need to use their cars”.

Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East, said: “The do-nothing Mayor for London has announced consultations on hammering hard-pressed motorists yet again with an extension of the congestion charge, an outer London charge, a pay-per-mile charge, and also the Ulez expansion.”

Transport minister Andrew Stephenson said: “Decisions on road charging are of course for the Mayor of London alone to take, but I agree with my honourable friend that the mayor must not punish people who need to use their cars, especially at a time when people are struggling with the cost of living.”

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah lived near the busy South Circular in Lewisham

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the Ulez charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide (NO2) it emits.

NO2 damages lungs and can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma and lung and heart disease.

Around 4,000 premature deaths in 2019 were attributed to the capital's filthy air.

The boroughs of Barnet, Bromley, Croydon and Havering had the most deaths, demonstrating that poor air quality “is not just a central London problem”, according to the mayor's office.

On Thursday, a process began that could see a law introduced to make clean air a human right.

Ella's Law would make it a legal requirement of the government to keep air clean, in the name of Ella Adoo-Kissi Debrah, a nine-year-old girl from Lewisham who died in 2013 as a result of air pollution.

Her mother Rosamund, a clean air campaigner, supports the Ulez expansion.

"Dirty air is poisoning for young children its stunting their lung growth," she told ITV News. "We can't live in a capital in 2022/2023 and this time next year, 12 children would have died from asthma. That's not acceptable."