General ULEZ expansion
Why is the Mayor proposing to expand the ULEZ to outer London in 2023?
The triple challenges of toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and traffic congestion mean we need to reduce emissions and car use in London, particularly given the impact of higher emissions on the health of our people and the planet. To meet the Mayor’s target of London becoming net zero carbon by 2030, we need to do more to reduce the number of polluting cars on the road.
Expanding the ULEZ to outer London so it applies London-wide is part of our approach to tackling these three challenges, particularly air quality.
The ULEZ is highly targeted at getting the most polluting vehicles off our streets. The Mayor believes expanding ULEZ to cover most of London will strike the best balance between maximising the health and environmental benefits for Londoners while minimising the cost to drivers.
Why are you proposing to expand the ULEZ to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) boundary and not the Greater London Boundary?
We are proposing to expand ULEZ to the LEZ boundary as it broadly follows the Greater London Authority (GLA) area boundary but was specifically designed to provide opportunities for vehicles to divert from travelling into London, allowing drivers of non-compliant vehicles to avoid the Zone if they do not want to pay the ULEZ charge.
How many people in outer London are already driving ULEZ compliant vehicles?
We estimate that 82 per cent of vehicles in outer London already meet the ULEZ standards, suggesting that fewer than one in five drivers in outer London will need to take action ahead of the expansion. You can check whether your vehicle is ULEZ compliant by using our vehicle checker. If your vehicle is ULEZ compliant, you would not need to pay the £12.50 charge.
Owners of non-compliant vehicles would need to take action to avoid the daily charge, such as switching to public transport, walking and cycling, using a car club or switching or upgrading their vehicle to a ULEZ compliant one.
You expanded the ULEZ in October 2021 to inner London. Why are you now looking at expanding it further?
London is already seeing the benefits of the recent ULEZ expansion both inside and outside the expanded inner London zone. 92 per cent of vehicles seen inside the current zone and 82 per cent of vehicles in London seen outside the zone meet the ULEZ emissions standards.
Air pollution is not, and never was, just a central or inner London problem. In 2019, air pollution contributed to the premature deaths of around 4,000 Londoners showing that we must go further and faster to safeguard human health. As a proportion of the population, air pollution contributed to more premature deaths in outer London boroughs, even though pollution levels there are relatively lower, mainly due to the higher proportion of older Londoners in these areas. Outer London deserves to see the same air quality and health benefits from the ULEZ as inner London.
It is estimated that the expansion of the ULEZ to outer London could reduce road transport NOx emissions in outer London by 6.9 per cent, exhaust PM2.5 emissions in outer London by 13.6 per cent, and total road transport PM2.5 emissions in outer London by two per cent.
Why are you proposing to expand the scheme to outer London so quickly?
We understand the importance of allowing all people, businesses and organisations a reasonable period to prepare and adjust. This must be balanced against realising the benefits to public health of reducing toxic air pollution as quickly as possible.
Compliance levels in London are already very high, particularly compared to compliance levels at the time of the confirmation of the implementation date of the central London ULEZ and its subsequent expansion to inner London. 92 per cent of vehicles seen inside the current zone and 82 per cent of vehicles in London seen outside the zone meet the ULEZ emissions standards. By the time the ULEZ is proposed to be expanded to outer London, compliance levels are expected to be even higher due to the natural replacement of vehicles.
To further support the scheme, the Mayor has proposed that a vehicle scrappage scheme would be available to help all eligible Londoners prepare for a London-wide ULEZ. Also, some drivers and vehicles qualify for a discount, exemption or reimbursement under the current inner London ULEZ and it is proposed that these arrangements would continue to apply in the expanded zone.
Why are you also consulting on changes to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy?
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) is the statutory framework for transport policies, proposals and programmes in London. When it was last published in 2018, it contained a proposal (Proposal 24) to introduce the ULEZ in central London in 2019 and expand it to inner London in 2021.
The ULEZ has now been implemented in these areas.
Since the publication of the MTS it has become clear that further action, beyond the expansion of the ULEZ to inner London, is required to help improve air quality, tackle the climate emergency, and reduce congestion in London. To ensure the MTS and the proposal to expand the ULEZ London-wide are in alignment, a supplementary proposal to Proposal 24 of the MTS would need to be published together with narrative that sets out why the new proposal is needed. They would be published as an addendum to the original MTS. A change to the MTS requires a public consultation, as was the case in preparing the 2018 MTS, so we’re inviting Londoners to comment on this change.
How do I check if my vehicle is compliant?
The good news is that 82 per cent of drivers in outer London and 92 per cent of drivers in inner London are already driving ULEZ compliant vehicles. You can check if your vehicle is ULEZ compliant by using our online vehicle checker.
How do I check if my home is in the proposed zone?
You can check whether you live in the new proposed ULEZ area by using our interactive map. The expanded zone would cover the same area as the Low Emission Zone.
Drivers of non-compliant vehicles would need to pay the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge to drive within the expanded zone unless an exemption or discount applied. This includes residents of the ULEZ. However, you would not need to pay the daily ULEZ charge if you are parked inside the zone and do not drive on that day. We are also proposing to remove the annual £10 per vehicle Auto Pay registration fee. This ensures all registered users can avoid the risk of incurring a PCN for forgetting to pay the ULEZ daily charge or the Congestion Charge.
The map shows the new proposed ULEZ boundary and the area it would cover. Enter a street name, post code or landmark in the search box to see its location in relation to the charging zone.
Cost and financial implications
Disabled and disabled passenger tax class vehicles (until 24 October 2027)
Wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles (until 24 October 2027)
Minibuses used for community transport (until 26 October 2025)
Are you proposing to change the ULEZ charge from £12.50?
No. The daily charge amount would remain at £12.50 for vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standard driving in the expanded zone.
Why are you proposing to increase the level of penalty charge from £160 to £180?
A penalty charge notice (PCN) is issued by TfL for late or non-payment of the ULEZ daily charge or Congestion Charge. Due to several factors, including inflation, increases in public transport fares and the level of the Congestion Charge itself reducing the relative disbenefit of the penalty charge level, the deterrent effect of receiving a PCN over time has decreased. For the Congestion Charge, the proportion of vehicles given multiple PCNs has increased from 25.1 per cent in 2018 to 28.3 per cent in 2021. For the ULEZ, the proportion has increased from 25 per cent to 32.3 per cent between 2019 (when the scheme was introduced) and 2021. The penalty charge level needs to increase for both schemes to maintain their deterrent effect, ensure consistency and achieve scheme objectives.
What is a vehicle scrappage scheme?
The Mayor has proposed that a vehicle scrappage scheme would be available to help all eligible Londoners prepare for a London-wide ULEZ. The Mayor’s previous scrappage schemes totalled £61 million and supported low income and disabled Londoners to scrap non-compliant cars and motorcycles, and small businesses and charities to scrap non-compliant vans and minibuses.
The Mayor has committed to helping Londoners adapt to the proposed London-wide ULEZ with a large scale and targeted scrappage scheme. Details about the new scrappage scheme, including the value of the fund and who can apply to it, will be announced at the time the decision on the scheme is made, should it be to proceed. It will be informed by the ULEZ Integrated Impact Assessment and responses to this consultation.
Will there be discounts and exemptions for some drivers?
Some drivers and vehicles qualify for a discount, exemption or reimbursement under the current inner London ULEZ and it is proposed that these arrangements would continue to apply in the expanded zone.
Full information is available here: tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/discounts-and-exemptions
In addition, some vehicles qualified for a temporary 100 per cent ULEZ discount and it is proposed that these arrangements are extended to the dates indicated below to allow further time to adjust to the proposed expansion:
Is the purpose of the proposed expanded ULEZ to generate more money for TfL?
No. The purpose of the ULEZ has always been to reduce the health impacts of air pollution by reducing harmful pollutant emissions from road transport. Any net revenue generated by TfL’s road charging schemes (the ULEZ, LEZ or the Congestion Charge) must by law be reinvested back into London’s transport network, including in outer London.
How much revenue has the ULEZ raised?
In the financial year 21/22 (1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022) the ULEZ scheme generated a net operating surplus of £118m. This includes the impact of expanding the scheme in October 2021 to inner London. The net operating surplus is the sum of all scheme revenues and all expenses associated with the scheme operation. Any net revenue raised by the ULEZ must by law be reinvested into our transport services, including in outer London.
Won’t the expanded ULEZ hit the poorest the most, especially during the cost of living crisis?
Expanding the ULEZ London-wide will strike the best balance between maximising the health and environmental benefits for Londoners while minimising the cost to drivers. 82 per cent of drivers in outer London and 92 per cent of drivers in inner London are already driving ULEZ compliant vehicles. This is also a matter of social justice. Air pollution hits the poorest communities the hardest. Nearly half of Londoners do not own a car, but they are disproportionately feeling the damaging consequences that polluting vehicles cause.
Should the ULEZ be expanded following this consultation, the Mayor has committed to helping Londoners adapt to the expansion with a large scale and improved scrappage scheme. Details about the new scrappage scheme will be informed by the ULEZ Integrated Impact Assessment and responses to this consultation
When would the new scheme be introduced?
Subject to consultation, and confirmation by the Mayor, the ULEZ could be expanded to outer London from 29 August 2023, so it then applies London-wide.
How would the London-wide ULEZ be enforced?
TfL’s current road user charging schemes in London are enforced via automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. Existing technology and around 2,750 additional cameras would be used for the proposed expansion of the ULEZ.
The triple challenges
We operate one of the largest zero emission bus fleets in western Europe, with more than 700 electric buses currently operating. By 2034, we will have a fully zero emission capable bus fleet and our Bus Action Plan sets out our aim to accelerate this to 2030, subject to Government funding.
We continue to work with taxi and private hire operators to support their conversion to zero emission capable vehicles. More than a third of the active taxi fleet in London is now zero emission capable or fully zero emission. Since 1 January 2018, taxis presented for licensing for the first time have needed to be zero emission capable, and from 1 January 2023 all PHVs licensed for the first time must be zero emission capable and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard.
London now has over 10,000 public charging points for electric vehicles, including taxis, accounting for a third of the UK total. Together with the Mayor of London, we have funded 307 rapid charge points for electric vehicles. We have also opened London’s first rapid charging hubs at Stratford International.
We extended the hours of the Congestion Charge to include weekends. In addition, non-wheelchair accessible PHVs are no longer exempt from the paying the charge.
Together with the London boroughs, we are creating a growing network of new, upgraded cycleways across London that everyone can use.
We have supported boroughs to deliver around 100 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
There are now more than 500 School Streets in London.
This year we will open the Elizabeth Line and an extension of the London Overground network to Barking Riverside, providing new public transport connectivity.
We review the timings of 20 per cent of London’s 6,000 traffic signals every year to ensure safe and efficient movement of people and vehicles on our streets.
What about all the other sources of air pollution? Why are you just focusing on transport?
Road transport is the largest individual source of both NOx and local PM2.5 emissions, and one of the greatest contributors to CO2 emissions in London, which is why this is where the Mayor has focused his efforts. It is also the area where the Mayor has the strongest statutory powers and a track record of delivering.
The Mayor has used the limited powers he does have to tackle non-transport air quality related emissions, including through the London-wide Non-Road Mobile Machinery Low Emission Zone, new air quality guidelines in the London Plan, and working with the London boroughs to improve enforcement and awareness raising of wood burning.
Additionally, much of the PM2.5 measured in London comes from sources outside the city, meaning national and European action is needed.
What else is TfL doing to help tackle air quality, the climate emergency and traffic congestion?
In addition to road user charging schemes, we are already helping to improve air quality, tackle climate change and reduce traffic congestion through other policies and programmes:
We will continue to develop additional measures to achieve our vision.
There are fewer public transport options in outer London. Will you invest more in these services?
Improving public transport in outer London is central to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and to enabling people to travel more sustainably. More than 96 per cent of Londoners live within 400m of the bus network, the London Overground network has expanded including a new station at Barking Riverside and the Elizabeth Line will transform public transport connectivity directly and through new interchanges along its length. Any net revenue raised by the ULEZ must be reinvested into our transport services, including in outer London.
Is an expanded ULEZ enough to get us to Net Zero Carbon?
The proposal to expand the ULEZ so it applies London-wide is an important next step in tackling the triple challenges of toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and traffic congestion, with the main benefit being the improvement in air quality and related public health improvements.
The Element Energy report published in January 2022 set out that to meet net zero carbon by 2030 on the Mayor’s preferred pathway will require a 27 per cent reduction in car traffic. To do this, the report found that London will need a new some kind of new road user charging system by the end of the decade. Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ – and replace them with a scheme which is designed to be simple and fair for customers. Work on the future of road user charging is just beginning and we are seeking Londoners’ view on this as part of this consultation.
This is supported by other policies including bus electrification, more electric vehicle infrastructure, more and safer walking and cycling infrastructure and a better public transport experience.
What about the health effects of pollution from waste incineration? What is the Mayor doing to reduce these?
In May 2020 the Mayor published an independent literature review of the evidence for health effects of waste incineration, both in general and specifically in London. This review found that well-managed modern Energy from Waste sites are unlikely to pose a significant health risk in the UK under the current stringent regulatory regime. The Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing this regime and the Mayor has written to them to ensure that this is done robustly. We also support programmes to tighten the emissions limits for these sites as technology improves.
Does the Mayor support banning woodburning stoves?
The Mayor does not have powers to control or reduce pollution from wood burning sources. However, wood burning accounts for up to 30 per cent of local PM2.5 emissions in London, which is why controlling wood burning is an important urban issue.
The London Environment Strategy sets out the additional powers required to tackle non-transport PM2.5 sources in London. This includes action from central Government to set tighter emission limits for wood burning stoves nationally, providing authorities with stronger enforcement powers in smoke control zones, and enabling the Mayor to set minimum emission standards for new wood burning stoves sold in London.
In addition to the type of stove used, the fuel used has a significant impact on emissions. Last year the Government introduced new regulations which prevents the sale of house coal and wet wood. Working with London Councils, the Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy has written to all relevant retailers to inform them of the changes and is working with London boroughs to improve enforcement.
Given the need for rapid cuts in emissions, shouldn’t the Mayor and TfL scrap plans for the Silvertown tunnel?
Anyone who has ever been caught in traffic due to a problem in the Blackwall tunnel, will know that there is an urgent need for another river crossing in this part of London. The new tunnel will provide desperately needed new, reliable and frequent cross river bus services – an increase from six, frequently unreliable, buses per hour today to a minimum of 20 zero emission buses in each direction. For many people who currently drive through the tunnel this will mean that they are no longer dependent on their car to get to work on time.
With a step change to the number of buses an hour in each direction providing far greater access to public transport for river crossings, and the charging scheme to discourage unnecessary journeys by private car, I do not expect the tunnel to lead to overall increases in traffic.
But simply expecting an outcome is not enough, which is why TfL has accepted binding requirements in the planning permission to ensure the actual outcomes are not materially worse than were forecast in the Environmental Statement for the Development Consent Order. There is an extensive monitoring strategy, including independent scrutiny of the data by the local boroughs, to ensure that TfL can prevent any unwanted impacts before they arise.
As the total number of vehicles crossing the Thames is not forecast to increase, TfL does not expect to see an increase in CO2 emissions from the scheme. Further, TfL undertook a voluntary embodied carbon assessment of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme, the scope of which was open to scrutiny as part of the Development Consent Order process. Total one-off emissions associated with construction are estimated at 153kTco2, of which 109ktco2 is embedded in materials. In contrast, once fully electrified, TfL’s bus fleet will eliminate 500kTco2 of emissions each and every year.
What would it cost to cancel Silvertown?
The cancellation costs for Silvertown tunnel are not fixed and are commercially sensitive, as they would have to be negotiated with Riverlinx, should a termination be discussed. This has been outlined in detail to the Oversight Committee. In line with standard commercial practice, the Silvertown Tunnel project agreement provides for compensation of costs incurred and loss of expected profits, less payments received.
As this is a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain agreement, there would be costs associated with cancellation of the loans put in place by the winning consortium to finance the construction, in line with normal practice for DBFM agreements.
Similarly, the DMFB agreement puts the financial cost of the project onto Riverlinx, and TfL would only reimburse them when they start receiving the user charge. This also means that there is no money invested in the tunnel that would be freed up for other purposes if the scheme were cancelled.
Future Road User Charging
Why are you talking about another potential road user charge as well as the ULEZ?
Subject to this consultation and the Mayor’s decision on whether to proceed with the proposals following consideration of consultation responses, impact assessments and any other relevant matters, the expansion of the ULEZ London-wide would be a further important step to addressing the triple challenges of toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and traffic congestion. It could also be implemented relatively quickly. However, even with the other improvements we’re making – better walking and cycling infrastructure, introducing zero emission buses and improved public transport options – experts have said it is not going to be enough.
Future road user charging could bring existing schemes such as the Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ together into a single charging framework, as well as addressing the triple challenges, a future scheme which is designed to be simple and fair for customers could also help to improve Londoners’ lives in other ways, such as increasing opportunities for walking and cycling, reducing road danger and noise, and benefitting the high street economy.
How would a future scheme work?
We are at an early stage in our thinking on how we could replace existing road user charging with a simple, fair scheme and are keen to hear Londoners’ views on the challenges that it could address, and the elements that a scheme could include, such as vehicle type and time of day.
We will use the feedback from this consultation to help us shape our work. Any future proposals to introduce a new scheme would be subject to a further public and stakeholder consultation with information on detailed scheme proposals and their impacts.
When are you thinking of introducing future road user charging?
The recently published Element Energy report found that we will need a new kind of road user charging system by the end of the decade at the latest to achieve net zero carbon by 2030, as well as addressing air pollution and congestion.
Will you consult again on the scheme?
Yes. If there was a proposal to introduce a new scheme, there would be a further public and stakeholder consultation with detailed information on the scheme proposals and impacts.
How can I take part in the consultation?
The consultation is open between 20 May and 29 July 2022.
You can complete our online survey at tfl.gov.uk/clean-air
Call us on 0343 222 1155
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to us at FREEPOST TFL HAVE YOUR SAY
How can I take part in the consultation if I do not want to register on your website?
You can call, email, or write to us with your views.
What will happen to my response?
Your response will be considered with all the other responses we receive, allowing our project teams to analyse the consultation feedback and to prepare a Consultation Report for the Mayor making recommendations on the consultation proposals. The Mayor will consider TfL’s report and decide whether or not to confirm the consultation proposals, with or without modifications.
When will I know the outcome of the consultation?
We aim to publish the Consultation Report and the outcome of the Mayor’s decision on whether or not to confirm the consultation proposals (with or without modifications) by the end of the year.
Are TfL going to just go ahead with this anyway?
No decisions have been taken on these proposals. The Mayor will make his decision on whether to proceed with the London-wide ULEZ and other proposals set out in the consultation document later this year, having considered the responses to the consultation, the findings of the Integrated Impact Assessment and other relevant matters.