Vehicle emission zones including ULEZ have made £418m across England since 2021, figures show


Vehicle emission zones including ULEZ have made £418m across England since 2021, figures show

More than £400m has been made in fees and penalties from vehicle emission schemes since March 2021, according to research.

The analysis comes ahead of the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on Tuesday next week.

Figures obtained by carmaker Peugeot through freedom of information requests found that a total of £418m has been generated in England since the spring of 2021 via the country’s charging low emission and clean air zones, of which there are nine in the country, according to the Commons Library.

The vast majority – £320m – was made between October 2021 and April 2023 when the current ULEZ zone was brought in for the area inside the North and South Circular roads in London.

From Tuesday next week, the scheme will cover the whole of Greater London, with the most polluting vehicles of any type being charged to enter the zone.

London has had a low emission zone affecting just commercial vehicles – which also covers Greater London – since 2008.

Elsewhere, Birmingham’s clean air zone (CAZ) made more than £79m between June 2021 and April 2023, while Bath’s scheme made nearly £10m between March 2021 and May 2023.

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s office accused of ‘alarmingly cosy relationship’ to ‘silence’ ULEZ criticism

Some £7m was made by Bradford’s CAZ between September 2022 and June 2023, and Portsmouth’s zone made almost £1m between December 2021 and May 2023.

Local authorities are legally required to reinvest any earning from such zones into the “delivery of local transport policies”.

The expansion of London’s ULEZ by Sadiq Khan has drawn criticism from all political quarters. It was blamed by the Labour Party for their failure to win the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

Mr Khan has insisted that he is implementing the zone to improve the capital’s air quality and improve respiratory health.

But some – including Conservative MPs and London Assembly members – say the move is a cynical attempt to balance the London books.

Vehicle emission zones including ULEZ have made £418m across England since 2021, figures show

Transport for London says the scheme is “not about making money, but about improving the health and well-being of millions of Londoners”.

It added that all money received was “reinvested into walking, cycling and public transport”.

There have been reports that the government was considering overruling Mr Khan using powers in the Greater London Authority Act 1999, but was advised against doing so by lawyers.

Responding to the report, Mr Khan said: “Instead of attacking the powers of devolved mayors, Rishi Sunak should focus on working with us and fulfilling his legal obligation to tackle the UK’s toxic air pollution.

“Birmingham, Bath, Sheffield and Tyneside all have clean air zones, funded by the government.

“Does the prime minister want people there to breathe dirty air too? Or just London?”

Concerns have also been raised about the relationship between the mayor’s office and scientists involved in monitoring air quality in London.

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Mr Khan has repeatedly criticised the government for not supporting London’s scrappage scheme for older, more polluting vehicles, unlike in several other cities.

Peugeot UK managing director Adam Wood said the company was offering price reductions on new electric cars “to help drivers avoid charges and reduce emissions in our urban centres”.


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