A report evaluating the first month’s impact of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) found that 74% of vehicles driving into the zone were compliant with the new standards, with 9,400 fewer older and more polluting vehicles entering the zone daily.
Launched on April 8, and operating alongside the existing congestion charge, the world’s first ULEZ is helping to address the UK capital’s air quality issues that currently contributes to thousands of premature deaths annually, and increases the risk of asthma, cancer and dementia. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in the central London Congestion Charging (CC) zone. Motorists who drive in the zone in a vehicle that does not meet the new emission standard (petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6) have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 (US$15.87) a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 (US$127) a day for trucks, buses and coaches.
The new report examines the initial impact of the ULEZ throughout April, the first month since its launch, and its key findings include:
- In the first month of operation (excluding non-typical days) the compliance rate with the ULEZ standards was around 74% in a 24-hour period, and 71% in the existing CC hours of 7am-6pm, Monday to Friday;
- Compliance showed a huge increase from 39% in February 2017, and 61% in March 2019 (CC hours);
- There were around 9,400 fewer older, more polluting, non-compliant vehicles seen in the ULEZ on an average day, a reduction of 26%.
Although the ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, a fair comparison can only be made using historic data during CC hours.
The report also reveals that on an average day (24-hour period) in the ULEZ scheme’s first month of operation around 32,100 non-compliant vehicles were detected in the zone. Of these:
- Around 17,400 (54%) paid the charge (4,300 ULEZ web or call center payments, 8,200 Auto Pay payments, and 4,900 ULEZ fleet charge payments);
- Around 3,000 (9%) were in contravention of the scheme and were issued with a warning notice for the first offence;
- Around 11,700 (37%) were not required to pay the daily ULEZ charge as they are eligible for a 100% discount or exemption, such as residents (until 2021), disabled drivers (until 2025), taxis, historic vehicles, and certain types of agricultural/military/construction vehicles.
“Everyone benefits from clean air, which is why it is great to see that so many people have responded to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which has resulted in a reduction in the number of polluting vehicles in the capital,” commented Alex Williams, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of city planning. “The ULEZ will nearly halve road-based NOx emissions in central London, and in addition to our work to ‘green up’ the bus fleet and encourage the taxi industry to switch to cleaner vehicles, together we will help to tackle this public health crisis.”