In a radical attempt to tackle toxic air pollution, London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will force some motorists to pay a total of £24 ($30) a day to enter the city centre. The first phase starts from Monday 8 April, and to begin with it will apply to the same area of central London covered by the congestion charge zone. It will apply 24 hours a day, every day. From 25 October 2021, the boundary will be extended to cover much of the city.
Most vehicles that do not meet the European emissions standards are subject to a £12.50 ($16.30) charge for every day they drive within the ULEZ, in addition to the £11.50 congestion charge that operates on weekdays. If a driver fails to pay within two weeks, they will face a penalty of £160. This will be halved if paid within two weeks. Lorries will face a much higher daily charge of £100, with a penalty fare of £1,000. The goal is to discourage people from driving heavily polluting vehicles in the city, in a bid to bring down levels of air pollution and associated health problems. London’s poor air quality shortens the lives of thousands of people every year. The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has called it a public health emergency.