Leave the car home: London starts ULEZ 
the w
orld’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone 

London 8 April 2019 - Forget the car to go to central London: ULEZ, the world’s first 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone is operating 24/7. It is the toughest Global emission standard to reduce toxic air. Polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London’s harmful NOx air emissions.

The forbidden area will save lives and improve health of millions of Londoners who will breathe cleaner air with NOx road transport emissions estimated to fall by 45 per cent in ULEZ zone. London’s toxic air health crisis causes thousands of premature deaths annually, and increases the risk of asthma, cancer and dementia. Furthermore air pollution has an economic cost to the capital of up to £3.7 billion every year, and £20 billion cost to the country every year.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is a landmark day for our city. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation. I simply refuse to be yet another politician who ignores it. The ULEZ is the centrepiece of our plans to clean up London’s air – the boldest plans of any city on the planet, and the eyes of the world are on us".  

“This is also about social justice - added Khan - as people in the most deprived parts of London, who are least likely to own a car, suffer the worst effects of harmful air pollution. I will not stand by and watch children grow up with under-developed lungs in our city. The ULEZ is a vital step towards helping combat London’s illegal air” .

The new measure prevents the most polluting vehicles from travelling within the zone using non-compliant vehicles: drivers  will need to pay a daily charge of £12.50, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
These include:

1) motorbikes that do not meet Euro 3 standards (roughly the equivalent of not being more than 12 years old in 2019)

2) petrol cars and vans that do not meet Euro 4 standards (roughly the equivalent of not being more than 13 years old in 2019)

3) diesel cars and vans that do not meet Euro 6 standards (roughly the equivalent of not being more than four years old in 2019)

4) Buses, coaches and lorries will need to meet or exceed the Euro VI standard or pay £100 a day

The Mayor confirmed 6,950 buses (75 per cent of all TfL buses), including all buses operating in the ULEZ zone  now meet or exceed the emission standard. ULEZ has already led to a reduction of approximately 20 per cent in NO2 concentrations measured at roadside monitoring sites in the zone.  


The Central London area will operate in the same area as the current Congestion Charge zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It replaces the T-Charge and operates alongside the Congestion Charge. 

There will be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. Motorists who drive into the zone in a vehicle that does not meet the new emission standard (petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6) will have to pay a daily charge.


A major awareness campaign has been underway for more than nine months to ensure drivers and businesses are ready for the ULEZ, with TfL’s online vehicle checker being used more than 3.2 million times during this period and petrol vehicles that meet the standard have been widely available since 2006. 

The office of the Mayor reports that since February 2017, when Khan announced the introduction of the T-charge as a stepping stone for the ULEZ, there has been: 

1) A reduction in the total number of vehicles seen in the Central London ULEZ zone (around 11,000 fewer vehicles per day) 


2) A 38 % rise in the total number of compliant vehicles in the zone between February 2017 and March 2019 

An increase in the proportion of compliant vehicles in the Central London ULEZ zone from 39 per cent in February  2017 to 61 per cent in March 2019 

This represents a 55% increase in the proportion of compliant vehicles in the Central London ULEZ zone since February 2017 and illustrates the impact that the ULEZ has already had on improving vehicle emissions standards in Central London.


Currently 6,950 buses (75 per cent of all TfL buses), including all buses operating in the ULEZ zone, meet or exceed the new emission standards. By October 2020 every bus in London, all 9,200 of TfL’s fleet, will meet or exceed the ULEZ standards: "an unprecedented transformation to make London’s famous red buses go green", the Office of the Mayor says. 

The most recent data on air pollution in London reveal that more than two million Londoners still live in areas that exceed legal limits for NO2, 400,000 of whom are children under the age of 18. A King’s College London research has found that, if the Mayor had not implemented a series of hard-hitting measures to tackle pollution,
London’s air would not come into compliance with legal limits for another 193 years. 
The King’s College analysis indicates that London’s air will reach legal limits in six years. The number of schools exceeding the legal limit for NO2 is expected to fall from over 450 in 2016 to 5 in 2020 and zero in 2025. 

Copyright © Talkeurope.org 2019

Copyright © TalkEurope.org 2019 

Copyright © TalkEurope.org 2019 

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