Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone comes into force

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone comes into force

Drivers of older and more polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay 12.50 pounds ($16) to enter the center of London from Monday in a bid by the city's mayor to improve air quality.

It's been heavily criticised by business leaders over the impact they say it will have on firms. This coming on top of the current congestion charge.

London has brought the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) into action today, which is one of the most stringent pollution-cutting measures now in operation in the UK.

The National Grid's electric vehicles project director, Graeme Cooper, said while the ULEZ is a "great step forward", air pollution can only be tackled if "we all make a conscious effort to move towards using and buying vehicles that have lower emissions like electric vehicles". The introduction of the world's first 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone next week marks a watershed moment in our fight to clean up our filthy air.

In December 2018, the Mayor announced a measure to help micro-businesses in London - those with fewer than 10 staff - prepare for the financial cost of updating their vans to those compliant with ULEZ standards.

The zone now operates in central London - covering the same area as the congestion charge - but will expand to the North and South Circular Roads in October 2021.

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To date, The Climate Group has secured the electrification of more than 2 million vehicles by 2030, saving over 6.6 million metric tons CO2e - equivalent to the carbon footprint of 1.9 million United Kingdom households. Critics have said that the zone's operation has been poorly campaigned, with a survey by Nissan finding that 1 in 3 people were unaware of the ULEZ going live today, 8 April 2019.

All vehicle types apart from black taxis are liable for the Ulez charge unless they meet certain emissions standards or exemptions. However, he added that, "in many cases, [small businesses] will be able to manage their costs better by leasing or hiring a compliant vehicle, van or truck". The retailer has committed to 100% zero-emission last-mile deliveries in five major cities by 2020 - and recently reached this goal in Shanghai one year early.

Natalie Chapman, Head of Urban Policy at Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: "The FTA recognises and supports the need to improve air quality, but we question the effectiveness of the ULEZ in reducing emissions and the lack of financial support available to businesses".

The introduction of London's ULEZ is a forerunner before towns and cities around the country follow suit.

The Ulez will be extended to the whole of inner London within the North and South Circular roads from October 2021. Operators and vehicle manufacturers have already led the way with investment in cleaner technologies through developments in engine standards; this has helped to reduce levels of key pollutants more than 20-fold over recent years.

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