Drivers in Breach of Expanded ULEZ May Initially Get Off With Warning

Drivers in Breach of Expanded ULEZ May Initially Get Off With Warning
Traffic passes a sign indicating the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) near Hanger Lane in west London on July 22, 2023. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
Evgenia Filimianova

Drivers in London whose vehicles don’t comply with the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) standards may initially be warned rather than fined.

Transport for London (TfL) told the PA new agency that it reserves the right to first issue a warning for drivers, instead of a penalty charge notice.

“However, we would advise anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle in the zone to pay the charge to avoid the risk of being fined,” the TfL added.

With only seven days to go before ULEZ is expanded to cover all of London, drivers have been urged to check their vehicles’ compliance and use the government’s scrappage scheme.

Starting Aug. 29, drivers whose vehicles don’t meet the ULEZ standards will face a £12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone.

If the drivers fail to pay the daily charge, they will be sent a penalty charge notice (PCN). The penalty charge for all vehicles, including cars, vans, mopeds, ambulances and minibuses is £180. If paid within 14 days, the fine is reduced to £90.

The TfL has also warned that both UK and non-UK registered vehicles can get PCNs. The services reminded drivers that the charging hours are from midnight to midnight, which means Londoners may be getting separate PCNs for each charging day that they have driven within the ULEZ.

To help drivers with the upcoming costs, the mayor of London has introduced a £110m scrappage scheme.

Those eligible can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to scrap their non-compliant car. Small businesses and sole traders will be able to receive up to £21,000 in grants to scrap up to three vans. The TfL said up to £27,000 in grants is available for charities to crap up to three minibuses.

According to the mayor’s office, the TfL “turning around application in a matter of days,” as time is running out for London drivers.

Outer London

ULEZ penalty charges will be a hefty addition to the expenses of London households and businesses, faced with the cost-of-living crisis and high inflation. While overwhelmingly backed by London mayor and member of the Labour Party, Sadiq Khan, ULEZ expansion has was recently questioned by Labour leader Keir Starmer.

“Let me tell you what I want to change: I want clean air. I don’t think anybody in this country should be breathing dirty air,” Mr. Starmer told the broadcasters, adding that he didn’t want “schemes that disproportionately impact on people in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis.”

His comments come following last month’s Uxbridge by-election, where the west London seat, heavily targeted by Labour, went to the Conservative Party.

Conservative MP Steve Tuckwell, who won the seat, called Mr. Khan a “zone one Labour politician,” who doesn’t care about outer London.”

While there is support for ULEZ zones in central London, the expansion of the scheme to cover outer London boroughs has not been well received by everyone.

Last week, the Metropolitan Police reported that as of Aug. 1, there have been 288 crimes relating to ULEZ cameras. The force reported incidents of ULEZ cameras getting stolen or obscured, as well as camera cables being damaged.
A group of activists called Blade Runners disagree with the cost of ULEZ expansion and have warned it will continue to disable and remove ULEZ cameras.

The cameras installed to enforce the ULEZ charging scheme, could also be used for other road charging schemes for London drivers, said the TfL.

Since the beginning of the ULEZ scheme in April 2019 and up to Mar. 2, the TfL has received close to £319 million in daily charge payments, the service has revealed.

All money received from the scheme is reinvested into developing London’s transport network, said the TfL.

Evgenia Filimianova is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in UK politics, parliamentary proceedings and socioeconomic issues.
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