Poorest Hit Hardest By ULEZ

Tue 9th Aug 2022

Far from being an opportunity to wipe out polluting vehicles from one of the most congested capitals on the planet, a major motoring organisation has hit out at the Ultra Low Emission Zone for pricing out the poorest communities from owning a car.

As London Mayor Sadiq Khan presses ahead to expand the ULEZ towards Greater London’s boundaries, thousands more cars will be deemed unsuitable and that will have a ‘disproportional and adverse effect on deprived communities’ says the National Franchised Dealer Association.

The consultation period on the proposed ULEZ expansion, which is expected to take in all 33 boroughs of London, ended last week, and many believe that it will be a foregone conclusion that the zone will expand next summer.

Many drivers of older cars, generally in the poorer communities on the outskirts of London, will be hit by the zone expansion, and forced to buy a newer, cleaner car, or pay the £12.50 daily charge. The NFDA believes many will decide that owning a car is too expensive. 

“Although action to counter London's air pollution is necessary, the proposed extension of the ULEZ scheme is being brought through with little consideration to affected stakeholders,” said Sue Robinson, chief executive of the NFDA.

“The additional cost to some of London's poorest communities will push some families over the brink and force a reduction in their access to private mobility, this in the backdrop of Britain's worst cost of living crises, which hasn't been fully considered by TfL.”
Mayor Khan has proposed a scrappage scheme to assist drivers of older cars, but it is expected that this will only be available to disabled drivers and those on benefits - ruling out a large swathe of motorists on low income who rely on their cars for everyday use.

'The TfL has yet to provide a detailed plan for its scrappage scheme, which it argues will support less-affluent motorists in ensuring their vehicles are compliant with ULEZ,' Robinson said. 

“The lack of transparency around this, the benefit the expansion will have, and the justification for the expansion all cast doubts in many affected stakeholders' minds.”