London’s ULEZ could be replaced by a pay-by-the-mile plan

by Nik Berg
11 April 2023 2 min read
London’s ULEZ could be replaced by a pay-by-the-mile plan
Photo: Jay Wennington on Unsplash

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is considering replacing the controversial Ultra Low Emissions Zone with a system that would charge road users according to far they drive.

Khan told the Financial Times “Road use charging is interesting,” adding that fees could be based around the time of day, distance driven and vehicle emissions.

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The ULEZ is set to grow to include the entire area within the M25 orbital motorway in August, with thousands of Londoners facing the choice of getting rid of cars that don’t meet the emissions criteria or paying a daily £12.50 charge to drive. Some drivers are already switching to classics as daily drivers in order to avoid paying.

However, those that can’t afford to change their vehicle face being priced off the roads of the Capital. Even the Prime Minister believes the plan is a mistake, while four London councils and one Surrey council are fighting the proposed expansion.

The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, plus Surrey County Council have formed a coalition to challenge Khan’s ULEZ extension. The group argues that the decision to grow the zone was made without complying with “relevant statutory requirements,” was done without a cost-benefit analysis and a “lack of consultation”. Khan did not consider compliance rates in outer London, say the councils, and this they deem an “unlawful failure.” Finally, the proposed scrappage scheme to encourage drivers to give up older vehicles was also not consulted upon.

London traffic night
Photo: Michael Fousert on Unsplash

Leader of the London Borough of Bexley Baroness O’Neill said: “We have been clear from the start that we believe air quality is important, but that ULEZ is the wrong solution. By wanting to expand ULEZ to outer London boroughs it appears that the Mayor’s message is you can pollute as long as you can afford the £12.50. We believe he should give the monies that he has allocated to ULEZ to the boroughs who actually understand outer London and the transport connectivity problems our residents face to come up with innovative solutions that will deliver better, more practical results.

“We are also very concerned about the mental wellbeing of our residents who we know are already anxious about the installation of ULEZ and the very real prospect that they won’t be able to use their cars to get to work, visit relatives and friends, shop or attend health appointments. We are standing up for our residents who have given us a clear message of what they think of his plan.”

If the councils win their battle, then the August expansion could grind to a halt, leaving Khan to seek a different approach in his bid to clean up London’s air. 

A pay-as-you-go system may be considered more fair by Londoners, as it could mean that local trips would be considerably less costly than the blanket daily charge. However, the solution could be some years away, admits Khan. “The problem is the technology’s quite a long way off.”

Read more

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  • Nicholas Gilkes says:

    Oh look, there it is. A poorly kept secret that this was the longer term plan. Covers all vehicles including electric ones.

  • Alan elliott says:

    Khan needs to get a hearing aid as he does not seem to hear what people think about him and his plans
    Why can’t the government stop him?

  • Russ Morgan says:

    We all know this is simply a cash raising plan to cover the financial disaster he created.

  • Michael G Edwards says:

    As been touched On, It’s perfectly fine to kill people and pollute London, ” As long as you pay £12.50 to do it! And that is the low down of what Mr Khan/ government is doing.

    Killing people and businesses with a Tax/charge, instead of the pollution doing it.

    How sick is the mayor/ government getting!?

  • Graham Newman says:

    All I keep reading is about these outer borough’s taking khan to court, have a date been made before August.Can some tell me please,I need to know about changing my 13 Plate diesel car.

  • Lawrence whiting says:

    What about all the pollution from all the log burners

  • Georgios Dimitropoulos says:

    It’s more than a cash raising exercise unfortunately. It’s also a potent vote grab one. A lot of voters think that the plan will actually clean the air and that Khan is fighting naysayers and demonstrates capacity to take tough decisions. Disregarding that ULEZ didn’t really moved the air quality needle in Central London that its been in effect for some time now.

  • Mike Kent says:

    I live near croydon and the air quality is good all ready we do not need ulez. This plan has nothing to do with cleaning the air its purely about making money.

  • Ekky says:

    You lot voted for incompetence so stop moaning now!

  • Lawrie says:

    Oh what a surprise, the “fairer solution” is one where your movements are monitored constantly. It’s almost as if the scene for this ‘conclusion’ has been choreographed.

  • Del says:

    Paying per mile just a joke we already paid road tax, fuel tax, tax on buying the vehicle, tax on parts and services any one living in greater London Borough pays extra council tax to this guy and he just waste it on new logos PR FOR HIMSELF and other cr*p that the 90% minority don’t want……Time to stop this guy he is not a mayor for the people

  • Andy Cottrell says:

    Potters Bar (outside the new zone) used to have a bus to Barnet (inside the new zone). Last year it was cancelled and now there really is no easy way to get between the two without driving.

    Public transport links should be increased across the borders, not taken away.

  • John says:

    I hope all those people who voted for khan have cars .and use them as lifelines are happy fools

  • Stephen says:

    If he is concerned about pollution stop air craft flying over London he also wants to look at at the pollution on the underground what is that doing to people s healf

  • P morgan says:

    This is another move for total control over every one. Once London enforces this the rest of the country will follow,the mayor of London and govement uses the motorist in this country as their piggy bank. Industry pollutes all over the world those pollutants travels on the wind but strange how cars r the only problem

  • Gill says:

    Decision on judicial review imminent

  • Gill says:

    Oh please, that was obvious intention from start. Only way cost of cameras etc made sense if you believe Mayor how few non-compliant vehicles it effected (he wildly underestimated of course). Plans are outlined on TFLs website. He’ll either magnanimously say “I’ve listened to concerns re ULEZ and am bringing in this which is fairer for all” or those nasty right-wing insult insult anti-ULEZ vandals have cost taxpayer so much in destroyed cameras etc I’ve no choice but to bring in pay/mile so Im so sorry but everybody now has to pay because of them, the gov, my aunty Mabel, anybody but me”

  • Vic Morris says:

    The whole ULEZ is a disgrace, nothing more than a revenue stream. It will have a negative and costly effect on individuals and businesses. It will also have a minimal effect on air quality. What is he he doing about the 10,000 buses and Heathrow and City Airports ?, Is he imposing a charge for every plane that takes off ?, Of course not, because that is big business and he won’t upset them. No he wants the individuals to pay for his mistakes.

  • Ed Hosford says:

    Look at the lead photograph there is an obvious cause for congestion shewn 7 auto buses nose to tail!!! with no doubt more just out of shot.

  • Marcus says:

    This dirt bag needs to go along with net zero madness – it’s not about environment because if you pay you can pollute as much as you like
    Vehicles are getting very good now and hydrogen could well be a solution
    But they need to focus on private jets and ships before they attack drivers
    It’s all about 15 min cities and keeping you under surveillance and control

  • David Flowers says:

    I just charge the ulez to the customer you voted him in you pay 2013 diesel van . He needs to look at the underground as it’s full of toxic dust

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