Have your say on changes to the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone

Closed 25 Jun 2017

Opened 4 Apr 2017

Results Updated 3 Nov 2017

The Mayor has announced the ULEZ will be introduced in central London approximately 17 months earlier than originally planned. 

From 8 April 2019, all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses and heavy vehicles driving in central London that do not meet the emissions standards will be required to pay a daily charge  in addition to the Congestion Charge.  The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year including weekends and public holidays.  For more information about ULEZ and to check whether your vehicle meets the emission standards, please visit our website at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone

Other changes that will also take place include:

  • Strengthening emission standards to also cover Particulate Matter emissions for diesel vehicles 
  • Ensuring all New Routemaster buses comply with ULEZ standards
  • Preparing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Emergency Services on the treatment of emergency response vehicles in the ULEZ

We will be undertaking further statutory consultation later on this year on proposals to widen the zone up to the north and south circular roads for light vehicles (cars, motorcycles, vans and motorcycles) and London-wide for heavy vehicles (lorries, coaches and buses). 

Please view our Report to the Mayor below which analyses the feedback from the consultation and sets out our recommendations to the Mayor. The Mayor’s decision form is also available.

Overview

We would like to hear your views on our proposals to:

  • Introduce ULEZ (and the residents’ sunset period) 17 months earlier in central London
  • Strengthen the emissions standard to also cover Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from diesel vehicles

Our online survey will ask your opinion on these topics. It should only take 10 to 15 minutes. Please complete the survey before midnight on 25 June 2017.

Next steps

This consultation closes on 25 June 2017. We will consider all of the feedback received and we will prepare a report to the Mayor to inform his decision.

The Mayor will then decide whether to proceed with the proposals, with or without modifications.

We expect to publicise this decision, along with the reasons behind the decision in Summer 2017. If the Mayor decides to go ahead with the changes, the ULEZ (with the changed emissions standard for diesel vehicles) would be introduced in central London on 8 April 2019 (provided the date of implementation is not amended as part of the decision).

More detail and background of our proposals can be found below.

Our Proposals
Impact of scheme
Why Improve Air Quality
What else is being done to improve air quality?
Consultation stages

Background
Air pollution is one of the most a significant challenges facing London, affecting the health of all Londoners. Soon after his election, in July 2016 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called for new proposals to urgently tackle London’s current poor air quality.

We have already undertaken two stages of consultation on the Mayor’s plans for new air quality measures, including the introduction of the T-Charge (officially called the Emissions Surcharge) and other suggestions concerning the future of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to improve air quality.

We are now consulting on a detailed statutory proposal for introducing the central London ULEZ earlier, on 8 April 2019. This is approximately 17 months earlier than the current start date on 7 September 2020.  

We are also proposing a change to the required ULEZ emission standard for diesel vehicles to include Particulate Matter (PM) to ensure alignment with the national standards set as part of the government’s National Air Quality Plan. (A further minor change to allow payments by “app” to bring payment channels in line with the Congestion Charge is also proposed).

This webpage summarises the consultation. More information can be found in the Consultation and Information Document and Integrated Impact Assessment.

We invite you to provide your views. Please read this information then complete the online questionnaire.

The consultation closes on 25 June 2017.

Our proposals

In March 2015, the previous administration confirmed the introduction of the ULEZ starting in September 2020. The ULEZ will cover the same area as the existing Congestion Charging Zone, will apply 24 hours a day, every day of the year and requires all vehicles that do not meet a NOx emission standard to pay a daily charge to drive within the zone.

Full details of the currently agreed ULEZ are available at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving-ultra-low-emission-zone

Proposal to introduce ULEZ earlier

We are now proposing to introduce the ULEZ in central London on 8 April 2019, to reduce overall exposure to air pollution and bring forward the health benefits to Londoners.  This is around 17 months earlier than the currently approved date of 7 September 2020.

We are proposing that the charge level, discounts and exemptions will remain the same.

Residents' sunset periods

Under approved arrangements, ULEZ residents’ vehicles that are not compliant with ULEZ emission standards will benefit from a three-year “sunset period” or “grace period” from the start of the ULEZ (currently 7 September 2020). This would mean that for three years registered residents would be entitled to a 100 per cent discount on the ULEZ daily charge, but would continue to pay the Congestion Charge and T-Charge. At the end of this period (from 7 September 2023) residents will be liable for the full daily charge if they use a vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards.

We are proposing to maintain the residents’ sunset period at 3 years. Therefore, if the ULEZ was to start on 8 April 2019 then the end of the sunset period would also be brought forward by 17 months, and end in April 2022.  As a result, ULEZ residents would need to comply with ULEZ emission standards from 11 April 2022 or pay the daily charge.

Residents would continue to pay the Emissions Surcharge at a discounted rate of 90 per cent, during the ULEZ residents’ sunset period.

Disabled Tax Class Vehicles
The confirmed ULEZ scheme sets out that vehicles with a disabled tax class, which are exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty, will benefit from a three-year sunset period from the start of the ULEZ. This includes vehicles used by a disabled person and disabled passenger vehicles. The criteria and eligibility for these tax classes is set by the Government, with details available at www.gov.uk/vehicle-exempt-from-vehicle-tax.

Blue Badge Holders
Blue badge holders, will need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or pay a daily charge. The Blue Badge discount for Congestion Charging would still apply.

A standard for Particulate Matter for diesel vehicles

The ULEZ scheme approved by the previous Mayor set emission standards for diesel vehicles to meet Euro 6/VI NOx emissions, or Euro 4 for petrol and Euro 3 for motorcycles and similar vehicles. We are proposing to strengthen the emissions standard to also cover Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from diesel vehicles.

There are up to 430 vehicles registered in London that meet Euro 6 diesel standards for NOx but emit up to six times the Euro 6 standard for PM.

This change is to recognise that the latest Euro 6/VI standard for diesel vehicles include controls for both NOx and PM emissions.

The proposed change will also align the ULEZ emission standard with the Government’s proposed national Euro VI retrofit certification standard for heavy duty vehicles, which requires diesel vehicles to meet both NOx and PM emissions standards in order to be certified.

Diesel vehicles that have been type approved as Euro 6/VI already meet ULEZ emissions standards for both pollutants and will not be affected by this change.

The Euro 4 standard for petrol vehicles does not control for PM emissions and therefore petrol vehicles will not be affected by this change.

Impact of Scheme

An earlier introduction of the ULEZ would mean Londoners experience its emissions and health benefits sooner. As a result of implementing the ULEZ in central London sooner, road transport NOx emissions in central London are expected to reduce by an additional 20 per cent in 2019. This is in addition to the reduction already expected in 2019 as a result of people adopting cleaner vehicles ahead of the original planned ULEZ start date of September 2020.

The area of central London exceeding legal limit values for NO2 would reduce from 30 per cent to 22 per cent and 42 per cent less people in central London would be living areas exceeding the legal limits for NO2 concentrations. There will also be ‘knock on’ benefits outside central London as a result of cleaner vehicles passing through inner and outer London to access central London.

There are benefits in reducing exposure to air pollution by introducing ULEZ 17 months earlier. Short term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of hospital admissions for heart and lung conditions, and worsens symptoms and severity of asthma. Children are especially sensitive to harm as air pollution can affect their lung function development, leading to an increased risk of ill health later in life; however, there is evidence that some of this damage can be reversed if air quality improves.

Why improve air quality?

The health impacts of the two pollutants of concern in London are:

  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): At high concentrations, NO2 causes inflammation of the airways. Long-term exposure is associated with an increase in symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children and reduced lung development and function
  • Particulate matter (PM): Long term exposure contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer. Research shows that particles with a diameter of 10 microns and smaller (PM10) are likely to be inhaled deep into the respiratory tract.  The health impacts of particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or smaller (PM2.5) are especially significant, as smaller particles can penetrate even deeper.

The scale of the air pollution crisis in London means further action is vital.

Concentrations of annual average NO2 in 2013 (Source: LAEI 2013)

Please click here to view a larger map
 

Road transport is a significant source of NOx, which forms harmful NO2 in the atmosphere. Currently around 50 per cent of NOx emissions in Greater London are from road transport, with diesel vehicles forming a significant proportion of this. The graph below shows the sources of NOX in Greater London.

NOx source apportionment in Greater London in 2013 (LAEI 2013)

Please click here to view a larger image

What else is being done to improve air quality?

London’s air quality has improved significantly in recent years. However, more needs to be done to ensure that we continue to tackle pollution effectively and address public health concerns as London’s economy and population grows. We already have a number of schemes planned:

TfL Buses
We have taken significant steps to reduce air pollution from our bus fleet. All buses in Greater London currently meet Euro IV standards or better for NOx.

The ULEZ requirements will also apply to our bus fleet. All buses will meet the ULEZ standards. We also intend to go beyond the ULEZ standards for our own fleet. To support the ULEZ, all double-decker buses operating in the Congestion Charging zone will be hybrid electric vehicles from September 2019 and all single-decker buses in the zone will emit no pollutants from their engine exhaust by September 2020 (eg they will be full electric or hydrogen models).

This will bring significant benefits to buses in central London and also to the corridors outside the ULEZ that those buses service. However we are also proposing a raft of additional improvements to reduce emissions from the TfL bus fleet:

  • Implementing up to 12 ‘Low Emission Bus Zones’ across London – tackling the worst pollution hotspots by concentrating cleaner buses on the dirtiest routes. The first zones has been delivered in Putney High Street and Brixton/Streatham will follow later in 2017;
  • Expanding an innovative Euro VI bus retrofit programme to have a Euro VI standard fleet by 2020; and
  • To ensure all new double deck buses delivered from 2018 are hybrid or zero emission

Reducing emissions from taxis and private hire vehicles
New Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licencing conditions were confirmed by TfL in 2015. These require new taxis from 2018, newly manufactured PHVs from 2020 and all PHVs new to licensing from 2023, to be Zero Emission Capable (ZEC). ZEC vehicles are plug-in hybrid electric and zero emission vehicles. The Mayor has recently published his action plan for taxis and PHVs, which includes further measures to reduce their emissions.

Further information about Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles is available on our website at tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire

Low Emission Neighbourhoods
Five ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ are being set up across eight boroughs, with pollution-busting measures including strict new penalties for the most polluting vehicles, car-free days, green taxi ranks for ZEC taxis and parking reserved for the cleanest vehicles.

Healthy Streets for London
We are investing to make London’s streets healthy, safe and attractive places to walk and cycle. Enabling more journeys to be made on foot or by bike can help reduce private vehicle use and associated emissions. Our approach to this is set out in the Healthy Streets Vision for London.

Further proposals will be developed as part of the forthcoming review of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

Have your say

We would like to hear your views on our proposal to introduce the ULEZ in central London 18 months early, in April 2019 rather than September 2020; proposed changes to the sunset periods; and the proposal to introduce a new PM standard for diesel vehicles in 2019.

You can do this by completing our online survey here and providing your comments no later than 25 June 2017. 

Related documents

Next steps

This consultation closes on 25 June 2017. We will consider all of the feedback received and we will prepare a report to the Mayor to inform his decision.

The Mayor will then decide whether to proceed with the proposals, with or without modifications.

We expect to publicise this decision, along with the reasons behind the decision in Summer 2017. If the Mayor decides to go ahead with the changes, the ULEZ (with the changed emissions standard for diesel vehicles) would be introduced in central London on 8 April 2019 (provided the date of implementation is not amended as part of the decision).

Consultation stages

This consultation is part of a series of consultations relating to the Mayor’s new proposals to tackle air quality. It is at the third stage (a summary of the expected stages is shown below):

Clean air consultation July 2016
Phase two consultation Autumn 2016

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Air Quality
  • Pollution
  • Emissions