5 Million Londoners to be covered by Newly Expanded ULEZ

As part of the city’s efforts to protect Londoners from air pollution and the risks that come with it, The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) next year. The zone currently covers central London all the way to the north and south circular roads boroughs but will expand to include the whole city beginning 29 August 2023.

High-polluting older vehicles will still be allowed across the Greater London area once the expansion is in effect but a £12.50 fine will be collected every time they do so.

With the expansion, the government is hoping to protect an additional five million residents from the dangers of polluted air.

Mayor Sadiq also announced a £110-million-worth improved scrappage scheme intended to help small businesses and the vulnerable population. More buses will also be operating in the suburbs.

Clean air campaigners and green groups, along with several businesses, welcomed this development even as Conservatives are strongly against the charges, saying that outer boroughs residents do not like them as well.

Before deciding to improve the scheme, the mayor held summer consultations with the public. The revenue collected will be used for public transport projects.

Addressing the problem of air pollution

Air pollution in London has become both an environmental issue and a public health emergency. At Bonus Pastor school, situated in one of the areas with dangerous-level air quality, Mayor Sadiq cited evidence showing how air pollution can make people sick. Health issues such as lung disease, asthma, dementia, and cancer have been hounding Londoners for years. Even children have had to suffer from the ill effects of air pollution.

Ever since the ULEZ was implemented, toxic air levels in central London have been reduced by nearly half. With the expansion, five million more are expected to benefit from cleaner air. This is a significant achievement since the ULEZ was primarily created to remove high-polluting vehicles from the road. Current estimates indicate that compliance has reached the 94% mark.

The expansion is also expected to reduce PM2.5 emissions from car exhausts, as well as a significant amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from vehicles across the outer London area.

Predictions by Transport for London indicate that approximately 15% of vehicles (around 42,000 commercial vans and 160,000 personal cars) driving through the expanded area every day would have to pay the ULEZ tax. The amount to be charged will depend on the volume of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) the vehicle emits.

What is the ULEZ?

London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone or ULEZ was launched in April 2019 as the “world’s toughest vehicle emissions standard”. Its primary goals are to reduce dangerous toxic pollution, protect public health, and remove high-polluting vehicles from the road.

The ULEZ operates every day for 24 hours, with Christmas Day being the only exception. Any non-emissions-compliant vehicle that drives into the zone must pay a daily charge of £12.50. This includes motorcycles, cars, vans, minibuses (up to 5 tonnes), and specialist vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes).

Exempted from the scheme are minibuses, buses, and coaches that weigh over 5 tonnes and specialist vehicles, vans, and Lorries weighing over 3.5 tonnes.

Diesel vehicle emissions

Around 50% of air pollution is caused by road transport emissions. This is why the 2015 Dieselgate scandal that has implicated the Volkswagen Group has grave repercussions not only for the carmaker but for the entire automotive industry. The fiasco has affected millions of car owners.

The diesel emissions scandal started after US authorities sent a Notice of Violation to the VW Group for the alleged use of defeat devices in Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the US.

Defeat devices are programmed to detect when a vehicle is being tested and automatically reduce emissions levels so they would stay within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mandated limits for the duration of the test. With the devices, diesel vehicles appear fuel-efficient and emissions-compliant.

However, once the vehicles are out on real roads and the emissions control systems are turned off, they release dangerously high levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx). NOx has NO2 and nitric oxide (NO) as primary components and is highly reactive and toxic. As such, vehicles with defeat devices are heavy pollutants.

Aside from VW and Audi, other car brands and manufacturers are also involved in the scandal. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, and Vauxhall lead the pack.

These carmakers should be held responsible for deceiving their customers by selling high-polluting vehicles. NOx emissions do not only destroy the environment; they also have devastating effects on human health.

Exposure to NOx emissions can lead to a decline in cognitive function (causing dementia), asthma, emphysema and other respiratory conditions, and cardiovascular diseases.

Thousands of premature deaths have also been linked to NOx emissions.

Am I eligible to file my diesel claim?

If you suspect that your vehicle is affected by a defeat device, your carmaker should compensate you. Bringing a diesel claim against them should be your priority. However, only specific models are affected, so your first step should be to determine your eligibility to file an emissions claim.

To find out if you are eligible, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk. It’s where you’ll find all the relevant information you need to start your diesel claim.

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