Update on 1 July 2015
Update on 26 March 2015
Transport for London recently undertook a consultation into proposals to introduce a new Ultra Low Emission Zone. The consultation ran from 27 October 2014 and closed on 9 January 2015.
After considering the feedback from the consultation, the Mayor has approved the proposal for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which will set new exhaust emissions standards and a daily non-compliance charge to encourage cleaner vehicles to drive in central London from September 2020. TfL’s bus fleet will also be upgraded so that all double deck buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single deck will be zero emission by 2020.
The consultation identified a number of issues with the original ULEZ taxi and private hire vehicle licensing proposals relating to funding, the availability zero emission capable vehicles and the availability of rapid charging infrastructure. This suggested that although it is intended to proceed with licensing measures to reduce the emissions from London’s taxi and PHV fleets, further consultation and engagement is necessary at this point. TfL will do this as soon as practicable and make a final recommendation to the Mayor. This will be announced in due course.
Further information about the ULEZ scheme and details of other modifications to the proposed scheme is detailed within our main website here www.tfl.gov.uk/ultra-low-emission-zone
Please view TfL’s 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.
Details of the original consultation are included below.
London’s air quality has improved significantly in recent years and is now considered compliant for all but one air pollutant for which the European Union has set legal limits. This pollutant is nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which has impacts on public health. London is currently in breach of legal limits. An equivalent of 4,300 deaths in London is attributed to air quality related illness. The Capital also faces challenging targets to mitigate the effects of climate change.
This means further action is needed to reduce air pollutant and CO2 emissions from transport to improve quality of life and public health. In recognition of this, the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have developed a proposal for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London.
The ULEZ would require all vehicles driving in central London to meet new exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards). The ULEZ would take effect from 7 September 2020, and apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A vehicle that does not meet the ULEZ standards could still be driven in central London but a daily charge would have to have been paid to do so.
The ULEZ would include additional requirements for TfL buses, taxis (black cabs) and private hire vehicles (PHVs):
A requirement that all taxis and new private hire vehicles presented for licensing from 2018 would need to be zero emission capable
A reduction in the age limit for all non zero emission capable taxis from 2020 from 15 to 10 years (irrespective of date of licensing)
Investment in the TfL bus fleet so that all double deck buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single deck buses will be zero emission (at source) by 2020.
More detailed information about the ULEZ proposals can be found in the Supplementary Information document
Have your say here (or at the bottom of this page)
What has been done to improve air quality?
Owing to the introduction of greener buses, taxi age limits and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), London’s air quality has improved significantly in recent years, and CO2 emissions from transport have reduced. However, more needs to be done to ensure that we continue to tackle pollution effectively, address public health concerns and mitigate climate change as London’s economy and population grows.
Why introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone?
The European Union has set legal limits for concentrations of pollutants in outdoor air, including particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which apply to London and the UK as whole. These limits are designed to protect human health. It is the responsibility of the UK Government, boroughs and the Mayor to take action in order to meet these limits. Failure to do so may result in significant fines being imposed on the UK Government under EU law.
The ULEZ proposal is the most efficient way to achieve further reductions of the most harmful road transport generated emissions in central London and across the Capital. This is on top of all the measures TfL is introducing to promote more walking, cycling, use of public transport and to encourage sustainable freight deliveries. It will substantially reduce concentrations of NO2, improve air quality and reduce CO2, improving the health of residents and visitors alike.
Where in Central London would the ULEZ standards apply?
It is proposed the ULEZ standards would apply to the same geographical area and within the same boundaries as the existing Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ). This covers the areas where air pollution levels are consistently the highest in London and where people experience the greatest exposure (as shown below).
For a larger version of this map click here
Although the ULEZ and the Congestion Charge (CC) have different purposes, the CCZ is well understood by drivers and operators. The map shows the area to be covered by the ULEZ.
For a larger version of this map click here
What impact do different vehicles have on emissions?
All vehicles contribute to poor air quality, although this can vary depending on the vehicle type, the fuel used and the mileage travelled.
In central London, TfL buses and taxis contribute a large proportion of emissions on an individual basis because of their high mileage and the dominance of diesel within the fleets. Lorries, coaches and other buses have similar characteristics.
The majority of cars driving within central London emit less per vehicle although as there are far more of them (over five million unique cars are observed entering central London in an average year) they contribute significantly to emissions. Motorcycles, mopeds and similar vehicles can be extremely polluting on an individual basis but, in total, account for a small proportion of kilometres driven in central London.
The chart below shows the projected breakdown of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by vehicle type in central London in 2020.
Please note: chart will not add to 100% owing to rounding
What are the proposed emission requirements?
The ULEZ will require all vehicles driving in central London to meet new exhaust emissions standards (ULEZ standards). These have been set to reflect vehicle size, fuel, availability and contribution to emissions on an individual basis. The standards would take effect from 7 September 2020, and operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is proposed the ULEZ standards would be based on ‘Euro standards’, these are also used in the Londonwide LEZ. These are European standards that define the limits for exhaust emissions for new vehicles sold in EU member states. Vehicle manufacturers may only sell new vehicles that comply with these standards from a certain date.
To determine your vehicle’s Euro standard, you need to know its age. You can find this out by checking its V5C certificate (log book) for the date of first registration.
A small number of vehicles that comply with the most recent Euro standard will have been sold before it became mandatory for vehicles off the production line. These are referred to as ‘early adopters’. These vehicles may have been registered up to a year earlier and so may be compliant from up to a year earlier than is shown in the table.
A vehicle that does not meet the new emissions standards would still be able to be driven in the ULEZ but a daily charge must be paid to do so.
The ULEZ standards would be in addition to the LEZ standards currently in place for heavy vehicles. The same exemptions currently in place for the LEZ would also apply to the ULEZ.
The table below is a simple summary of the proposed ULEZ standards and proposed charge if the vehicle is not compliant. More information about Euro standards and how the ULEZ standards have been developed is available in the Supplementary Information.
Summary of the proposed ULEZ standards (below)
* Euro standards for heavy-duty diesel engines use Roman numerals and for light-duty vehicle standards use Arabic numerals.
**Vehicles this age or younger in 2020 will comply with the ULEZ standard and not incur a charge.
*** This is payable in addition to any applicable LEZ or CCZ charges.
What do I do if my vehicle doesn't meet the ULEZ standards?
The ULEZ standards would be introduced from 7 September 2020 and by this time it is expected many vehicles will already be compliant. This timeframe also allows people at least four years to arrange to upgrade or switch to a compliant vehicle.
HGVs, coaches and buses
HGVs, coaches and buses that are six years old and younger in 2020 will meet the ULEZ standards.
It is proposed that those wishing to drive in the ULEZ in HGVs, coaches and buses that do not meet the ULEZ standards must pay a daily charge of £100. This has been set at a level to reflect the large contribution each vehicle makes on a per-vehicle basis to air pollution and is intended to deter older, more polluting vehicles.
Light vehicles (cars, minibuses, vans and motorcycles)
The following vehicles will meet the ULEZ standards in 2020.
Where the fuel type is petrol or LPG:
Cars and small vans up to and including 14 years old; and
Large vans and minibuses up to and including 13 years old
Where the fuel type is diesel or bio-diesel:
Cars and small vans up to and including 5 years old; and
Large vans and minibuses up to and including 4 years old
All motorcycles (and similar vehicles) up to and including 13 years old.
It is proposed those wishing to drive in the ULEZ in cars, minibuses, vans and motorcycles that do not meet the ULEZ standards must pay a daily charge of £12.50.
Cars, minibuses, vans and motorcycles make up the majority of traffic but contribute less to pollution on a per-vehicle basis. This charge has been set at a level that enables those people making very infrequent trips to continue to do so if they do not want to change their vehicle.
What if I am a resident of the ULEZ?
It is proposed all residents living in the ULEZ will be granted a three year sunset period to 6 September 2023 before any daily charge applies. This is to acknowledge that they are unable to avoid the zone and so may require more time to change their vehicle to meet the ULEZ standards. The discount will be available to people living in the ULEZ between 2020-2023 and will only apply while they live in the zone. In practice residents with petrol cars registered with the DVLA after 2006 will be compliant with the ULEZ standards; for diesel cars those registered from September 2015 will be compliant.
Will the ULEZ operate in addition to the LEZ and Congestion Charge?
The ULEZ will operate in addition to the LEZ and the Congestion Charge.
The charges for heavy vehicles (£100) and light vehicles (£12.50) are in addition to any other charges the same vehicle might incur on its journey into Greater London under the LEZ and/or if it enters the CCZ during charging hours (07:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday). Even if your vehicle is compliant with the ULEZ standards, unless you are entitled to a CC discount or exemption, you would be required to pay the CC if you drive during these hours.
It is possible that for a heavy diesel engine vehicle which is not compliant with the standards for both the LEZ and the ULEZ and is driven within CC hours, three charges would have to be paid in one day.
How will the ULEZ standards be enforced?
It is proposed the ULEZ standards would be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras – both fixed and mobile – which are already used for CC enforcement. The cameras would capture the number plates of vehicles and check vehicle details against a database of vehicles that met and didn’t meet the required ULEZ standards and for which the daily charge had been paid.
In recognition of their significant total contribution to NOx emissions, TfL is working to reduce the emissions impact of its buses through its bus procurement programme and taxis and PHVs through its role as the body that licenses these services in London.
TfL is seeking to increase the number of buses, taxi and PHVs capable of operating with zero emissions. This will create demonstrator fleets in London, boost industry sales and help lead the transition towards this technology.
Additional requirements for TfL buses
The TfL bus fleet is the youngest of any major European or world city with an average age of six years. In addition to meeting the ULEZ standards, it is proposed all double deck buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single deck buses will be zero emission by 2020.
Approximately 300 New Routemasters (which are already hybrid and have NOx emissions much closer to the Euro VI standards than other Euro V buses) would continue to operate in the ULEZ without modification at 2020 (see the Supplementary Information for more detail).
Additional requirements for taxis and PHVs
The ULEZ proposal has been tailored to reflect the different vehicle types used as taxis and PHVs, their contribution to emissions in the ULEZ and the likely development of the vehicle market for each sector.
Taxis (black cabs)
It is proposed that from January 2018 all vehicles presented for licensing as taxis must be ‘zero emission capable’.
Since 2012, a 15 year age limit has removed over 6,000 of the oldest and most polluting taxis. TfL proposes to reduce the age limit for all non zero emission capable taxis from 15 years to 10 years (irrespective of date of licensing), with effect from 2020.
The taxi requirement will apply Londonwide as well as in the ULEZ. It is proposed that all taxis will be exempt from the ULEZ standards and charges.
Private Hire Vehicles (eg minicabs)
It is proposed that from January 2018, all newly manufactured vehicles (under 18 months old) presented for licensing as PHVs must be ‘zero emission capable’. Other vehicles presented for licensing as PHVs must comply as a minimum with the ULEZ standards and also continue to meet the 10 year age limit. The PHV requirement will apply Londonwide as well as in the ULEZ.
Every PHV driving in the ULEZ will be required to meet the ULEZ standards or a daily charge (similar to other cars, vans etc) must be paid.
What are the benefits of the ULEZ?
The ULEZ would make central London a more pleasant place to live, work and visit. The ULEZ is projected to at least halve emissions of NOx and particulate matter PM10 from vehicle exhausts. This means more than 80 per cent of central London is expected to meet the NO2 annual legal limits in 2020. The ULEZ would also lead to a significant reduction in the number of people living in areas of poor air quality (where levels of NO2 exceed legal limits) – by 74 per cent in central London, 51 per cent in inner London and 43 per cent in outer London.
The number of care homes, hospitals and schools exposed to high levels of NO2 would be halved across London. These positive effects will be especially beneficial to the young, older people and those who have respiratory problems as well as residents of high pollution areas.
The majority of traffic entering the ULEZ will be from outside the zone – so the benefits of cleaner, greener vehicles in the form of reduced emissions will be delivered right across London so benefitting Londoners’ health. The introduction of a ULEZ will not, as some critics suggest, lead to a reduction in air quality or increased congestion outside of the zone.
The chart below shows estimated change in NOx in 2020 with the ULEZ in place. The savings shown are the percentage reductions achieved on the emissions for each vehicle type.
For a larger version of this chart click here
In developing the ULEZ proposal, and in line with the Mayor’s aspirations, TfL also considered a ‘zero emission capable’ ULEZ standard for all other vehicles. However it was concluded that it would not be feasible or affordable to set this requirement for all vehicles for 2020. Nevertheless it is expected that such a standard would be appropriate at a later date (e.g. 2025) and we are seeking views on this in principle.
Air Quality improvements
The ULEZ will have positive impacts on air quality across London as many journeys start and end outside the zone. The number of people exposed to poor air quality in 2020 will be halved in inner London and reduced by over two fifths in outer London.
TfL invites you to provide your views on all the proposals as described by completing our online questionnaire.
Comments must be received no later than 9 January 2015.
What happens next?
This consultation closed on 9 January 2015. We are currently considering the many responses (over 16, 000) that we received.
TfL will analyse the results of the consultation and make a recommendation to the Mayor. The Mayor will then make a decision on whether to confirm the scheme order, with or without modifications. As the licensing authority for London’s taxi and private hire vehicles, TfL will decide whether to make changes to the licensing requirement for these. TfL will publicise this decision, along with the reasons behind the decision.
Should the ULEZ proposal be taken forward,, the next steps in the process would be:
2015 – Legal order and policies confirmed
2015-2020 – An information campaign would take place to help ensure that drivers and operators are aware of the ULEZ standards and understand their options before they are enforced from 2020
Number of hybrid and zero emission buses in the ULEZ increase
2018 – All newly licensed taxis and new PHVs would be required to be zero emission capable
September 2020 – Reduction in the age limit for all non zero emission capable taxis from 15 to 10 years (irrespective of date of licensing)
September 2020 – ULEZ standards are introduced and all double-deck buses hybrid / single-deck buses zero emission
September 2023 – Residents’ discount expires
Glossary of terms
Scheme Variation Order
Schedule of Variations
The LEZ Order with ULEZ amendments
Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) Summary Report
IIA Health Impact Assessment
IIA Environmental Assessment
IIA Equalities Assessment
IIA Economics and Business Assessment