The extension of London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) to Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is an important initiative aimed at improving air quality and reducing emissions in the city. The ULEZ sets stricter emissions standards for vehicles entering certain areas of London, and charges an additional fee to vehicles that do not meet these standards. The ULEZ is highly targeted and aims to get the most polluting vehicles off the streets, in order to achieve the maximum health and environmental benefits for Londoners.
Air pollution is a major health concern in London, with toxic air caused by traffic leading to children growing up with stunted lungs and thousands of premature deaths a year. The greatest number of deaths attributed to air pollution in London are in the outer boroughs, which the current LEZ does not cover. The ULEZ expansion is expected to cover most of London and would target the most polluting vehicles, which emit the highest levels of pollutants and greenhouse gases compared to newer vehicles. This would help to improve air quality in the city and reduce the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution.
The ULEZ also aims to reduce emissions from road transport, which accounts for approximately 28% of carbon emissions in London. Reducing emissions from road transport is essential to combat the climate emergency and help London reach its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The ULEZ is expected to lead to a reduction of nearly 10% of NOx emissions from cars in outer London on top of the 30% reduction in road transport NOx emissions expected from the current ULEZ and tighter Low Emission Zone standards. This reduction in emissions would help to combat the climate emergency and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.