Ulez expansion day is upon us. From this morning, London’s ultra-low emission zone is expanding to cover the area within the North and South Circular roads, with non-compliant vehicles subject to a £12.50 daily charge.
We understand the financial pressure this will place on some businesses and families who are unable to make the change overnight. It is why we supported financial measures such as scrappage schemes and the acceleration of rapid charging points for electric vehicles, to ease the transition.
But in the days leading up to COP26 in Glasgow, we back Sadiq Khan in taking steps to clean up our city’s toxic air and cut our carbon emissions in the process.
The Mayor is right to couch this, not only in terms of our collective health, but also as an issue of social justice. For it is London’s most disadvantaged communities that suffer the worst consequences of air pollution and its associated health effects.
The initial roll-out may still come as a surprise to some Londoners, with a recent poll suggesting fewer than half of people were aware of the expansion of the Ulez.
But the prize on offer — clean air for all to breathe — is surely one worth fighting for. What we need now is the investment in charging facilities, cycle lanes and public transport to give Londoners greater choice in how they get around their cleaner, greener city.