A public consultation on new measures to improve air quality in London – including the introduction of the long-awaited Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019, a year ahead of schedule – has been launched.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing to:

  • Introduce the ULEZ in 2019, instead of 7 September, 2020
  • Extend the ULEZ from central London up to the North and South Circular for all vehicles, as early as 2019, but possibly later
  • Extend the ULEZ for HGVs, buses and coaches from central London to London-wide from as early as 2019, or possibly later
  • Introduce an Emissions Surcharge (T-charge) for older polluting vehicles entering the Congestion Charge zone in October 2017

Depending on feedback the Mayor will ask Transport for London to develop potential options into detailed statutory proposals for consultation next year.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it was “disappointed by Mr Khan’s revised plans which could bring forward the introduction of the ULEZ and its expansion and claimed it would have a major impact on small companies operating vans. 

Vehicles entering the ULEZ must meet Euro6/VI (diesel) or Euro4 (petrol) emission standards or they will face a daily charge of £12.50 rising to £100 for HGVs, buses and coaches.

The proposed T-charge would apply to petrol and diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4/IV emissions standard for NOx and PM emissions driving into the Congestion Charge zone from 23 October, 2017. The £10 charge would be in addition to the Congestion Charge and would operate at the same times (Monday to Friday, 07:00 – 18:00).   

FTA claims that with only two-and-a-half to three years’ worth of compliant vans on the roads following the mandatory introduction of Euro6 models in September, compliance, particularly for operators reliant on second-hand vehicles bought at four years old, will add a “significant cost burden” to their business. The organisation estimates that to comply with the proposals will cost the average small operator with five vans more than £100,000 extra up front – perhaps more than 150% of a company’s annual turnover.