Under the plans, drivers of the most polluting cars will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter to the Greater London Authority boundary from 29 August, 2023.
By: Pramod Thomas
London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that police officers will be forced to pay £25 a day to travel to work under the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) expansion plans, according to a report.
More than half of Metropolitan Police officers live outside of London, and many drive to work due to their irregular shift patterns, along with 53 per cent of firefighters and 30 per cent of paramedics, the Telegraph reported.
With more than 43,000 officers and staff, the Met is the UK’s largest police service and has 25 per cent of the total police budget for England and Wales.
Last month, Khan announced plans to expand Ulez in August 2023 to include almost all of the area inside the M25.
Under the plans, drivers of the most polluting cars will have to pay £12.50 a day to enter to the Greater London Authority boundary from 29 August 2023.
According to the Telegraph, those who drive cars produced before 2005 will be hit with a £12.50 charge for entering the city. It also hits shift workers twice if they work through the night.
“The Mayor has been clear that it was not an easy decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide but a necessary one to reduce the capital’s toxic air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in our city,” a spokesman for Khan is reported to have said.
“Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to the toxic air in our city with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in London’s outer boroughs, which the Ulez doesn’t currently cover.”
The spokesman pointed out that children across London are growing up with stunted lungs, adding that adults have greater risk of heart disease, dementia and other serious illnesses.
Previously, it was reported that MPs have urged the mayor to exclude emergency service workers from paying the charges due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Currently, exemptions are applicable to historic cars that are more than 40 years old, specialist agricultural machinery and military vehicles.
Khan also reiterated that the measures are needed to reduce London’s toxic air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut traffic congestion.
“This tax raid on drivers by the Mayor of London from August next year will hammer businesses, residents and emergency service workers in Greater London. Nurses working in my local hospital will face costs of up to £25 a shift if they are working nights, which are the same costs facing the many police and fire officers working in Bexley but living in Kent,” Tory MP Louie French, who represents Old Bexley and Sidcup, told The Telegraph.
The money raised by charging drivers who use the Ulez will be ‘reinvested into maintaining and improving London’s transportation network’ by the cash-strapped Transport for London (TfL).
Cars driving within the smaller congestion charge zone in central London are charged an additional £15 per day.
TfL’s revenue was severely impacted by the coronavirus, with passenger numbers still only at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
The Department of Transport has agreed to pay it money to keep the services running through March 2024, but in the meanwhile, it must find cost-saving measures.
According to TfL’s draft business plan, it will save £600 million by reducing expenses and raising fares, but it will not cut services.