Further to our earlier report, and according to The Times this morning, Transport for London (TfL) has now released details of cars and vans failing to meet the Ulez emission standard that entered the congestion charge zone in the past year.
The numbers are breath-taking. The pollution charge being introduced in London in April could affect almost 2.5 million cars and vans a year.
They include 1.5 million diesel cars registered before 2016, 500,000 petrol cars registered before 2006, 400,000 vans, 55,000 HGVs and 10,000 coaches.
TfL is trying to contact as many of the registered keepers of these vehicles as it can identify to warn them that they will be liable for the charge if they enter the zone from April 8. It is tracing them via their number plates, which were caught on congestion charge enforcement cameras, and then asking the DVLA to contact them.
And this only includes vehicles which have entered the present central London Congestion Charge Zone over the last 12 months. There will be other drivers who haven’t ventured in and are therefore in danger of not being warned.
Sadiq Khan has previously said that fewer than 60,000 vehicles a day would pay the £12.50 ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) fee but has not made clear the total number of vehicles that might be affected by the charge at some point during the year.
The charge will apply at all times in central London and will be payable in addition to the £11.50 congestion charge.
An Opposition member of the London Assembly is quoted as saying
“People are blithely unaware of what is waiting for them and are suddenly going to find massive bills landing on their doormats. As many as 2.5 million people who have accessed the zone in recent months will be liable for charges they were really not expecting.”
He added the self-evident comment that “millions more drivers would be affected when the charging zone boundaries are extended to the north and south circular roads in October 2021”.
Note that licensed London Taxis are exempt, however old and polluting they are! Mr Mayor is clearly reluctant to provoke their famously combative owners. Though hopefully the older standard diesel models are progressively being replaced by electric vehicles.
Speaking for many readers, perhaps, one of many comments appearing below The Times report reads
“I live in central London. I have a well kept, appropriately serviced 11 year old diesel car….which for several years I was encouraged to purchase by the government of the day. My car has done 52,000 miles. It is used occasionally for short runs but mostly to exit London on long runs to visit family who live rurally and with poor public transport, the local train station at a distance of 12 miles. I am careful to service my car regularly. I am careful to drive it causing as little nuisance to others. How can cases such as mine be treated in the same way as the 18 taxis sitting outside Harrods waiting for fares, all with their engines running at approx 20:00 hrs this evening? How can it be appropriate that I am penalised in the same way as a Diesel engine that is used commercially for delivery for between 8 to 12 hours a day in and around central London? Of course, when I choose to change my car, I will look at the cleanest possible option. But whilst it is used occasionally and in good nick, why should I be subject to this draconian and patently unfair tax?”