Sadiq Khan's new Ulez rules to cost drivers over £3,000 a year

Rishi Sunak has urged the Mayor of London to reconsider expansion plans

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Sadiq Khan’s expansion of London’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez) will cause drivers in the capital to face daily charges and fines because of a lack of compliant vans for sale, according to new analysis.

The zone, which was criticised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week, will be expanded to cover the whole of the capital from August 29 in a bid to boost air quality. Vehicles that do not meet the minimum standards will be charged a £12.50 daily fee.

A Transport for London report estimates that 30,000 non-compliant vans currently use the Ulez expansion area each day.

But figures from Auto Trader show there are just 5,181 vans for sale across London and south-east England on its online marketplace, with the UK total being 23,803.

To avoid the Ulez fee, diesel vehicles must be Euro 6 standard. This usually covers vehicles registered from 2016.

It will cost more than £3,100 a year in charges for a tradesperson to enter the zone in an older van every working day.

Drivers who fail to pay face a £160 penalty each day, but this is halved if paid within a fortnight.

The average price of a diesel van which meets the emissions standards is £23,972 on Auto Trader - £6,500 more than for a non-compliant van.

An Auto Trader spokesman said: “This will be a real worry for thousands of van drivers already struggling to cope with high inflation.

“The number of Ulez compliant vans for sale in London and the South East is just a fraction of the estimated 30,000 vans affected, leaving the majority facing the prospect of paying thousands of pounds extra to get to work.”

The Ulez is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: “The mayor has been clear that the decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was one of the hardest he’s had to make, but with around 4,000 Londoners still dying from toxic air it was a necessary one.

“Eighty-five per cent of vehicles in outer London are already Ulez compliant.

“For those that aren’t, the mayor has announced the biggest scrappage scheme yet – £110 million – to help micro businesses and Londoners who need it most amid the cost of living crisis, including low income and disabled Londoners.”

Maxwell Tall, 2, cries as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks to the media
Maxwell Tall, 2, cries as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks to the media

Speaking to Nigel Farage on GB News, Oliver Lord from the Cleaner Cities Campaign UK said the mayor was right to be pushing the Ulez expansion.

“It’s getting quite political argy bargy now, it’s obviously getting into a different heartland of London that is up against the mayor.

“But I think the mayor's absolutely right to be. Standing list because of the impact that air pollution have on people's health.”

Mr Lord added: “People are trapped in these lifestyles. And when you look at the statistics, actually one quarter of all car journeys in England are under two miles. So I think the question here is whether we actually have to use the car all the time.

“So if you if you're in London for example, half of all car trips could actually be cycled in around 10 minutes, which is one example of the change that we need to understand the logic of the argument about fumes in central built up busy London.”

Last week Rishi Sunak urged the mayor to “properly reconsider” Ulez expansion after thousands of people expressed their opposition through responses to a consultation.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Sunak said: “It is disappointing that the mayor, backed by the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Keir Starmer), is choosing not to listen to the public, expanding the zone against the overwhelming views of residents and business.

“I urge the mayor to properly reconsider and respond to these serious concerns.”