Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, refused to extend Monday’s deadline for the creation of ultra-low emission zones throughout the capital. He said the scheme was a matter ‘of life and death’.

300,000 motorists using the boundaries of London’s North and South Circular roads are now set to be hit by a £12.50-a-day charge when driving their vehicles after this weekend.

Labour mayor Khan was under pressure from Conservatives in Greater London Assembly to defer the massive enlargement of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez) which will now cover more than 18 miles in London.

On Thursday, Mr Khan spoke out to BBC London and said that the expansion was a matter of life or death. He said, “We can’t afford not to wait any longer.” 

It comes as MailOnline uncovered that a £61million scrappage scheme introduced in February 2019 that was designed to help low-income families switch to cleaner vehicles had almost run out of cash.  

TfL announced that 6,700 drivers received the grant. However, they have not yet been able to support another 1,500 applications. This warning comes just days before the massive Ulez expansion. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured at the Earthshot Prize 2021 last week) warned the expansion of London's ultra-low emission zone was a 'matter of life and death'

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor (pictured at Earthshot Prize 2021 last Wednesday) warned that the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone was a matter of life and death.

£12.50 ULEZ zone: The ULEZ currently covers the red area of central London from Westminster to the City of London. It will expand up to, but not including, the North and South Circular Road (shown in yellow), on October 25

£12.50 ULEZ zone: The ULEZ currently covers the red area of central London from Westminster to the City of London. It will expand to, but not include, the North and South Circular Roads (shown in yellow) on October 25

£100 Low Emission Zone: The red area shows the LEZ which applies to heavily polluting diesel trucks and vans. The green area shows the ULEZ from October 25 and the red area the Congestion Charge Zone

£100 Low Emission Zone: The red area shows the LEZ which applies to heavily polluting diesel trucks and vans. The ULEZ is effective October 25, and the Congestion Charge Zone is in the red.

According to The Evening Standard, TfL had received 19,594 application for the scheme by September 20, but had only accepted 8,132 of them and paid out 6,854. The grant is expected to be granted to approximately half of the applicants.

TfL’s scrap fund was running dry. This revelation comes as many Londoners face financial hardship following Covid. 

Only those who have one of the benefits listed above can access the Ulez scrappage program. These include universal credit as well as child tax credit, child credit, pension credit, and working tax credit.

Only residents of 32 London boroughs are eligible. The vehicle must be insured, have a current MOT certificate, and be taxed. Only vehicles that are not ULEZ-compliant are eligible for this scheme. 

GLA Conservatives slammed the policy as 'harmful in normal times' but said it would be 'devastating' after the past 20 months (file photo)

GLA Conservatives condemned the policy as “harmful in normal circumstances” but stated that it would be “devastating” after the past 20-months (file photo). 

All you need to know about the ULEZ

What is it?  The ULEZ charges vehicles that emit the highest amount of nitrogen oxide in order to allow them to enter London.

When does it apply to you?  Daily charges are charged from midnight to midnight every single day.

Where is it happening?  The scheme is in the same area of the congestion charging zone. However, it will be extended to the North Circular roads beginning October 2021.

What vehicles are included?  All vehicles are affected, except black taxis.

It applies to all petrol and diesel cars manufactured before 2006. 

London residents are not exempt.  

How much does it cost for an older vehicle to enter the zone?  It costs £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans. Vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches are liable for a £100 charge.

How can I avoid being charged?  To be exempted from the Ulez tax, petrol cars, vans, and minibuses must comply with the Euro 4 emissions standard, while diesels must comply with Euro 6. This means that the oldest cars that are allowed to be driven in central London are either a diesel model four years old or a petrol model thirteen years old.

What happens if I don’t pay?  If you fail to pay the charge, car drivers face a £160 penalty (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days). HGV drivers will be handed a fine of £1,000 (reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days).

What if my vehicle’s emission standard is not known?  Drivers can check if their vehicle is subject to a charge by entering the registration number on the Transport for London website.

Why was ULEZ established?  Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, claims the scheme will improve capital’s air quality. He says it is responsible for thousands premature deaths and other serious conditions.

Has there been opposition to the scheme.  The London Assembly Conservatives claim that Khan’s decision not to launch the scheme sooner than planned could make it difficult for motorists, particularly those from the most disadvantaged households, who have not yet upgraded to a newer model. They warn that expanding the zone to inner London will not effectively address pollution and will have an adverse effect on people and businesses living in areas with low levels of pollution.

What vehicles are covered under ULEZ?

London’s extra charges will not apply to cars and vans only.

These vehicles that are not ULEZ compliant will also be affected  

  • Mopeds, motorcycles, motorised tricycles and quadricycles
  • 4X4 utility vehicles and pick-ups
  • Motorized horseboxes
  • Fire engines and ambulances
  • Motorcaravans
  • Minibuses
  • Lorries
  • Buses and coaches
  • Breakdown & recovery vehicles
  • Snow ploughs, gritters
  • Road sweepers and vehicles for refuse collection
  • Concrete mixers, tippers 

Khan warned the capital of an “air pollution crisis” and stated that 4,000 Londoners were suffering premature deaths each year as a result of the toxic air.

He said that 60% of people in the new ultra low emission zone area didn’t own a car and that it was the poorest Londoners who were most affected by the worst pollution.

But in 2019, more than 330,00 motorists were understood to own cars in the new zone that did no meet ‘ultra-low emission’ standards, and are now faced with the prospect of forking out an extra £12.50-a-day charge.

Transport for London’s latest estimates show that the total number of eligible vehicles for driving in the expanded area is 137,000 cars, vans, and HGVs. 

That total would generate TfL a tidy £2million-a-day if each vehicle paid their congestion charge, reports the Evening Standard. 

Patrick Doig from TfL, however, heads finance. He warned that any tangible figure in net revenue from Ulez fines and penalties was ‘extremely difficult’ to predict.

Nearly 80 percent of vehicles within the newly expanded Ulez region already comply with capital’s increasingly stringent emission standards.

When asked where he would expand the Ulez in Greater London, Mr Khan responded with a pensive tone: “Let’s wait to see what the results are.”  

He also acknowledged that the Ulez expansion was likely to generate ‘quite little’ income, but he insisted he was ‘keen’ no one paid the charge, and instead chose ‘clean’ transport options like walking or cycling. 

The £12.50 Ulez charge is applied on top of the £15 congestion charge to all petrol and diesel cars, vans, lorries, motorcycles unless they meet ultra-strict emissions standards.

It means drivers including London residents will be charged £27.50 a day to drive into central London if their car does not meet the ULEZ standards.

All petrol cars manufactured after January 2006 and all diesel cars manufactured after September 2015 meet the standards, but many buses, Ubers, delivery drivers, and ambulances do not.

Tories with GLA decried Mr Khan’s decision not to push ahead with Ulez expansion earlier this month. They warned that people had not been able plan for the changes while Covid-19 was being fought. 

They blasted the move as ‘harmful in normal times’ but said it would be ‘devastating’ after havoc wreaked by the pandemic over the last 20 months.

All types of vehicles, except black taxis, are affected by the fare. To be exempt from the fare, petrol cars, vans or minibuses must meet Euro 4 emissions standards. This standard applies to all vehicles registered after 1 January 2006.

Diesel cars must meet Euro 6, which applies to vehicles manufactured after September 2015. All electric cars and hybrids are Euro 4 or 6 compliant.

Monday’s new scheme will allow you to drive the oldest cars in London, a four-yearold diesel or a 13.-year-old gasoline, without having to pay the charge. 

TfL currently estimates that only 20% will have non-compliant cars within the expanded zone starting next week.

It is estimated that around 100,000 drivers are still being charged each day for owning passenger cars.

However, motoring group the AA is still estimating that the true figure is more than that, saying 300,000 residents are still driving motors that are going to be charged £12.50 a day to use.