According to the RAC, Sadiq Khan’s decision of expanding his low-emission zone has been costing London drivers an additional £385,000 per day.
Transport for London’s coffers has grown by £93.6m in the last year since the Ultra-low Emission Zone (Ulez), which covers a greater area of London, was extended, according to the motoring group.
Originally limited to central London, Ulez was initially restricted to that area by the RAC. However, the RAC discovered that Ulez generated £19m between September 2021 and February 2021 during the months preceding the expansion in 2021.
Between November 2021 to June 2022, revenue of £112.5m was generated after the area was extended to the north and south circular ring roads.
In the first month, non-compliant vehicles made 329 527 trips. After the Ulez grew in size, this number rose to 1.9m.
Drivers pay the £12.50 per-day fee to generate this revenue. These fees do not include penalties for failure to pay the fee. According to the RAC, penalty charge notices generated a total of £20.3m over the first period and a further £261.9m when Ulez was extended.
The eight-month period saw an additional £93.6m, which is equivalent to £385,000 per day.
Nicholas Lyes from the RAC is the head of roads. He said that Mr Khan’s decision last autumn to expand the zone left many drivers facing a “very difficult choice: replace their vehicle with a compliant one or pay the £12.50 daily fee”.
He said that “failing to pay the charges was not an option as it would result in a hefty fine notice.”
London’s Mayor is committed to reducing pollution in the capital. However, he has been criticised for waging a war against drivers.
The Ulez was extended to the north and south circling ring roads last year. Mr Khan has now revealed plans to extend the zone to all of Greater London next year. His plans will likely catch out tens of thousands more drivers.
The Telegraph revealed last month, that two-thirds (or more) of those who responded to a consultation about Mr Khan’s plans were against an expansion in Greater London.
City Hall stated that the initial findings were distorted by those who don’t live in the capital.
“It is clear that this has been the focal point of a coordinated campaign against drivers’ groups…from thousands of people who don’t live or work in London,” said a spokesperson.
Lyes said that the Ulez expansion has brought Transport for London a significantly increased revenue stream, despite the high costs of introducing a larger Ulez. Londoners who live outside of the current Ulez will be worried about the possibility of expansion at the end of August 2023.
“While we agree that action is necessary to reduce vehicle toxic emissions, there is a cost-of-living problem that is hurting drivers. There is also a risk that enlarging this zone will prove to be very costly for older vehicles that can’t afford to buy newer vehicles.
Alex Williams, TfL’s chief customer officer and strategy officer said that the Ulez was not about making money but improving the health and well-being of millions of Londoners. We prefer that no one has to pay the fee, and we anticipate income to decline as more people choose to live sustainably. All money from the Ulez goes back into public transport, walking and cycling.
“To assist people to adapt to the Ulez,” the mayor created a £61m vehicle-scrappage program that took more than 15,000 of London’s dirtiest cars off the roads. This scheme supported low-income and disabled Londoners, charities, and small businesses.
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