ULEZ, London, UK - April 8 2019: ULEZ (Ultra low emission zone) charge congestion charge Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) warning sign central London

London’s ULEZ expansion reduces polluting cars by nearly half

Since Sadiq Khan’s controversial decision to expand the ULEZ zone in August, the number of polluting cars in London has dropped by nearly half.

In the first month of operation, there were 77,000 fewer non-compliant vehicles operating in the capital on an average day than there were in June 2023—a 45 percent decrease.

Transport for London (TfL), which released the data, also found that 95 per cent of vehicles driving on the outskirts of the city complied with clean air standards and would be free from paying the £12.50 charge.

August saw a court clash between London Mayor Sadiq Khan and five Tory-led councils over the implementation of the new ULEZ zone.

Khan said: “I’ve always said that the decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult, but a month on from the expansion we can already see that it is working.”

“This data is a testament to the huge progress we’ve made in tackling toxic air pollution since I was first elected in 2016. Londoners are experiencing a greener, cleaner, and healthier city.”

According to the data, in the first month, an average of about 60,000 cars paid the price every day. This represents about 3% of all cars driven in London and would have brought in about £24 million in income.

According to TfL, 13,480 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued between September 26 and September 30. The current value of an FPN is £180, or £90 if the fine is paid within two weeks.

In the run-up to the general election, the ULEZ expansion has become a central talking point. Labour’s surprise by-election defeat at Uxbridge in July factored in both the Labour Party and the Conservatives’ decision to temper certain green policies.

Several UK automakers are incensed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has postponed the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles until 2035.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy and policy, said the scheme had been “transformative” for air quality standards, although the report said it was too early to be certain of the true impact.

“The ULEZ is highly effective in taking the oldest, most polluting vehicles off the roads with nearly 80,000 fewer driving in London since this June alone, and a 56 percentage point increase in vehicles meeting the standards since 2017,” Calderato said.

Scroll to Top