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Drivers must pay £12.50 if they enter the Ulez zone with a non-compliant car
By Yasmin Rufo
BBC News

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) has been expanded to include all of London’s boroughs.

Drivers must pay a charge of £12.50 per day to drive a non-compliant vehicle anywhere in the zone under the controversial clean-air plan.

A £160m scrappage scheme is still available for all Londoners to claim from, with a maximum of £2,000 being offered per vehicle.

Small businesses, sole traders and charities are included in the scheme.

You can check to see if your car is Ulez-compliant here.

To monitor the new zone, Transport for London (TfL) said it would install 2,750 cameras across outer London. As of mid-August 1,900 cameras had been erected, almost 70% of the total number planned.

Meanwhile, the Met Police has received hundreds of reports of criminal damage being done to cameras, with more than 300 of them either vandalised or stolen.

A number of protests have been held about the expansion

Nevertheless, TfL’s director of transport strategy and policy, Christina Calderato, insisted the transport authority was “ready” for the expansion.

Ms Calderato also recommended people signed-up to an Auto Pay account on TfL’s website, where drivers are automatically charged so they “will never receive a PCN (penalty charge notice)”.

Those driving in the zone in a non-compliant car must pay the £12.50 charge online or by phone up to three days after they travelled.

The penalty for not paying is set at £180, which goes down to £90 if it is paid within 14 days.

‘My wife has decided to pay’

Steve Allen doesn’t object to the Ulez in principle but its implementation “hasn’t been very well handled”

There are mixed feelings about the scheme among people in Bromley, south-east London.

Steve Allen, 56, says: “I don’t have any objection to the air being made cleaner, but the price of it seems excessive.”

He says his wife owns a non-compliant vehicles “that she loves”, so she is choosing to pay the charge when she goes to work each day.

“It hasn’t been very well handled by TfL, there’s been a rather condescending attitude from them, and I don’t think it’s been very well handled by the local councils,” he adds.

Mayor ‘making everyone struggle’

This man thinks very little of the expanded Ulez – and the mayor

Meanwhile a local builder had strong feelings about the mayor for expanding the Ulez, saying: “I wish we could get rid of him.

“Everyone’s struggled for work and now he’s making everyone struggle even more.”

He added he thinks very little of the scheme, but says “no-one listens to the common person”.

‘Part of a bigger picture’

This woman says the expansion is needed to help combat climate change

However, one woman disagreed, saying: “We’ve got a big problem in terms of climate change. We need to put a whole package of measures in and this is just part of a much bigger picture.

“But it’s got swallowed up by this very unfortunate argument that it’s not been implemented in a very helpful way for a lot of people.”

Sadiq Khan told BBC Breakfast: “We now have a really effective policy to reduce air pollution.

“It’s shown to be effective in central London and inner London, but I think clean air is a right not a privilege.”

Sadiq Khan says the scrappage scheme initially prioritises those most in need of help

The mayor said more than 15,000 applications had been made to the Ulez scrappage scheme in the past week.

Since the announcement was made about the expansion in 2022, it has been met with opposition by some politicians and motorists.

Five Conservative councils took the policy to the High Court but lost after the judge ruled the mayor’s expansion decision “was within his powers”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the expanded scheme was going to “hit working families”.

“I don’t think that’s the right priority, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do and I wish they hadn’t done it,” he added.

Members of Mr Khan’s own party were also hesitant to support the policy after Labour lost the by-election in Boris Johnson’s former seat of Uxbridge and Ruislip.

At the time, Labour leader Keir Starmer refused to say whether he backed the Ulez expansion, and told the BBC the mayor should “reflect” on the policy.

The Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall has pledged to reverse the Ulez expansion if she is elected mayor in May 2024.

The BBC has assessed some of the claims made about the policy to better understand its impact.

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