diamond geezer

 Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Yesterday the Ultra Low Emission Zone, or ULEZ, came into operation in central London, aimed at curbing exorbitantly high levels of urban pollution.

If you'd like to read a serious article about the zone, how we got it and what it builds on, I can heartily recommend this post by London Reconnections. Or you can watch some proper BBC London reportage on Tom Edwards' YouTube channel. I merely went for a walk around the outside of it, which is a mostly pointless activity, and undeniably bad for one's health. I did however get some good photos of the new signs.



The ULEZ covers the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone, introduced in 2003, so hasn't cost a huge amount to implement. All the cameras and payment mechanisms are already in place, so all that's had to go up are new green signs alongside the old red ones.



The ULEZ covers the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone, and is targeted at users of high polluting vehicles. A daily charge is applied for driving inside the zone, and diesels bear the brunt.
Roughly speaking, you have to pay if your vehicle was registered...
before 2005: cars with petrol engines (Euro 4)
before 2006: vans with petrol engines (Euro 4)
before 2007: motorbikes (Euro 3)
before 2014: lorries, coaches and larger vehicles (Euro VI)
before September 2015: cars with diesel engines (Euro 6)
before September 2016: vans with diesel engines (Euro 6)
So a 13 year-old petrol-driven car pays nothing, but a 3 year-old diesel-driven van pays full whack.
For cars, vans and motorbikes the daily charge is £12.50.
For lorries, coaches and larger vehicles it's a whopping £100.
The fine for not paying promptly is £160 for smaller vehicles and £1000 for larger vehicles.
The fine is halved if paid within 14 days.
There are several exemptions...
» Residents registered for a Congestion Charge discount (until 24 Oct 2021)
» Not-for-profit minibuses (until 30 Oct 2023)
» Keepers of vehicles registered with a 'disabled' tax class (until 26 Oct 2025)
» Designated wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles (until 26 Oct 2025)
» London-licensed taxis
» Historic vehicles built more than 40 years ago
» Agricultural vehicles
» Military vehicles
» Excavators
» Certain types of mobile crane
» Some showman's vehicles
The ULEZ applies 24 hours a day, whereas the Congestion Charge only applies between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. Vehicles get to pay both. For daytime drivers that's £12.50 on top of the existing £11.50, i.e. £24 a day. Could be £120 a week, i.e. £6000 a year. This is why your Uber fare has gone up.

Cutting noxious emissions is undeniably the right thing to do, whatever the individual cost. But all the signs I saw around the Congestion Charge boundary are only temporary, and the next stage of the project could prove a lot more controversial.

In October 2021 the ULEZ will be expanding to cover the whole of London inside the North and South Circular Roads, which'll bring millions more people into its financial remit. Every time you drive a non-compliant vehicle within this extended zone, it'll cost. A trip to the shops, a drive to see gran, the school run, they'll all set you back £12.50 a day.



The entirety of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Camden, Haringey, Islington, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and the City of London will be covered. Thanks to geography no south London borough will be affected in its entirety (although Southwark almost is). That's still a lot of votes to lose.

Backstreet residents in Bowes Park, Beckton, Barnes and Blackheath are going to have to stump up, or change their cars. This is of course the intention, or better still to nudge people to switch to walking, car clubs and public transport. But for the less well-off with a second-hand diesel parked out front, with limited resale value and only 30 months to make a difference, it's going to be a whopping shock.

As for cameras, it's all very well having them at entrances to the Congestion Charge zone, but the North and South Circulars are on a totally different scale. It would be prohibitively expensive to install CCTV at every junction on the new perimeter, especially in South London where the road's not dualled. But it's scarier than that - the ULEZ also needs to capture every significant vehicle movement within the intervening 150 square miles, which potentially requires Big Brother levels of surveillance.

We know the Met Police have cameras all over the city to keep tabs on vehicles of interest as required. What's intriguing is that data from this covert network might soon be used, in conjunction with additional cameras as necessary, to confirm ULEZ status and pass on details for daily charging. Twenty years ago this couldn't have been done, but we now live in an era where transport surveillance is commonplace, indeed widely accepted, and being used to discourage high-polluting journeys.

You can imagine suburban car owners experimenting to find a route to the shops that the cameras don't capture. You can imagine drivers choosing not to fill up with petrol on Thursday if they won't be driving anywhere else until Friday. You can imagine Auntie Jean choosing not to pop down and visit her relatives in Cricklewood because she doesn't understand how the system works, or failing to realise she needed to pay and being whacked with a £160 fine she's unaware of. It may be just as well that the implementation date for the extended ULEZ is safely beyond the date of the next mayoral election.



I live within the extended zone but I don't drive, I only breathe, so I'm more than happy to see this groundbreaking scheme rolled out further. What's more I've been living on a main road for years, long before vehicle emission standards improved, so must have been doing my lungs no favours every single time I went out. The price of limiting this invisible killer is high, but surely worthwhile for the health of Londoners of all ages. And maybe one day a walk round the edge of the Congestion Zone will be a sightseeing pleasure, not a bloody stupid life-limiting thing to do.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream