The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has issued a press release and a report claiming that the air in London is a lot cleaner after the last expansion of the ULEZ. For example, it is suggested that NO2 concentrations alongside roads in inner London are estimated to be 20 per cent lower than they would have been without the ULEZ and its expansion.
This is no doubt an attempt to justify a further expansion to the whole of London which is still open to public consultation. However if you read the detailed report it is not at all clear why air quality in some locations has improved, however much it is to be welcomed.
Other factors that may have affected the figures have been ignored. For example the report says this: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (“the pandemic”) and individual, regional and national responses to address it, mean that 2020 and 2021 have been different from previous years. This is particularly so for travel and transport as people reacted to lockdown measures and wider concerns about the pandemic by changing their work and travel habits. The pandemic impacted traffic volumes in London in 2020 and 2021, with central London being especially affected. This will in turn have impacted pollution levels across the city. In July 2021 most lockdown restrictions were formally lifted, and much of the economy has now returned to near normal levels of activity. However, central London traffic levels are still not back to pre-pandemic levels”.
It is also worth noting that as vehicles get replaced or upgraded, newer ones tend to be a lot cleaner. There is a natural turnover of vehicles and newer ones are cleaner plus people have been avoiding buying diesel vehicles whose numbers registered in London have fallen. Many people and businesses are also now buying electric vehicles and not just to avoid paying a ULEZ charge.
Another big change is that more London buses are now ULEZ compliant and HGVs have also been replaced with cleaner vehicles. These have had big impacts on air pollution in London along main roads.
But all these changes have not justified the ULEZ expansion and the costs imposed on car and van drivers. Neither do they justify further expansion of the ULEZ which will cost TfL many millions of pounds to implement and cost some drivers a great deal also. If you have not already responded to the public consultation, please do so from the link below:
Clean Air Consultation: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/cleanair
TfL cannot afford to spend the money on expanding the ULEZ as they are already desperately short of money so why do they want to do it? Probably because it will give them the capability to introduce a London-wide road charging system using the cameras that will be installed.
TfL Report: https://www.london.gov.uk/WHAT-WE-DO/environment/environment-publications/expanded-ultra-low-emission-zone-six-month-report
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London is progressively becoming a no go zone for people who don’t commute there, but may wish to visit for various other reasons.
A lot of businesses, especially in the theatre, entertainment, catering, hotel industries need the customers from around London, but it is over pricing itself.
The cost of visiting London is rising fast compared with the budgets in people’s pockets, which are disappearing fast!
Sadiq Khan will regret over charging to get into, as it will deter more and more people from visiting, and as a result businesses will fall by the wayside, as illustrated by theatres, where attendances are down!
For example, Khan’s zero emission zone in the City of London near the Barbican caught a cold. They tried to fine me for driving down one of these zero streets. I proved that the signage was not correct, and virtually invisible to a driver turning into that street. I won the case, and saved myself nearly £200. However, it makes me think twice about going into London.
Train hassles, parking costs, congestion charge, over;riced wherever you go for food etc…
Khan will enjoy seeing pollution free streets because there’s no one bothering to visit!
There was a report that Surrey County Council has requested that the ULEZ is not expanded to the outer area. They say areas such as Staines, Esher, Leatherhead, Epsom, Caterham and Warlingham are so close to the Boundary that the residents often work and shop within Greater London. They make the point that it also affects the poorer who often need an older car through necessity.
No doubt TfLs reply will be “let them buy a bike.
Yes it’s not just London residents who are affected by the ULEZ schemes.