The decision follows last month’s introduction of the ‘Toxicity Charge’ (T-Charge) in central London to help deter the use of older more polluting vehicles, in the build up to the ULEZ.
From April 2019 the ULEZ will replace the T-Charge and operate in the same area, alongside the congestion charge but – unlike the T-Charge and Congestion Charge, which are only in place on weekdays – it will operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
There will also be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. These charges will be in addition to the Congestion Charge (C-Charge), so the more polluting cars and vans would pay £24 per day and lorries would pay £111.50 during C-Charge hours.
ULEZ will also affect thousands more vehicles, up to 60,000 every day, compared to the estimated 6,500 a day affected by the T-Charge. Diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 6 standards and most petrol vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4 standard will have to take action or pay.
ULEZ standards require diesel engines to be Euro VI/6 compliant, and petrol engines to be Euro 4.
In addition, TfL buses are also expected to meet the same Euro 6 requirement as other heavy vehicles and private buses from April 2019.
The plans are expected to reduce NOx emissions from HGVs in London by 50%, and that of coach and non-TfL buses by more than a third.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death.
He continued: “I’ve taken the bold action we need to protect our children, but we now urgently need the Government to step up and provide the support to Londoners and businesses required to help them meet these crucial standards.”
The Mayor is not stopping there. He is developing proposals for a London-wide Euro 6 standard for buses, coaches and lorries in 2020, and is considering expanding the area of the ULEZ for all vehicles (including, cars, vans and motorcycles) up to the North/South Circular roads in 2021. A consultation will start later this year.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett expressed outrage at the news. He said: “The Mayor and TfL have ignored our advice and will now bring the Central London ULEZ in 17 months early. This flies in the face of common sense, and our consultation response. Since the early introduction of the ULEZ was first proposed we have pushed hard for a phased approach that will improve air quality and maintain the economy of London. We are concerned that the ULEZ charge will cost many hauliers £100 per day, and that’s in addition to the other charges they already pay. More than half the GB lorry fleet will not be Euro VI when the ULEZ is introduced.”
He added: “The current approach will lead to the use of more vans, will increase congestion and will undermine the economic wellbeing of the city.”
Emissions retrofit firm Eminox warns affected operators to consider acting now. Business development manager Carlos Vicente said: “Although it may seem like a long time away, the start of the ULEZ is sooner than you think and with only a handful of suppliers, like Eminox, able to retrofit heavy duty vehicles to Euro VI standards, it’s best to get enquiries in early.”