UK Property Forums’ man in West London Mike Lightfoot, an EV owner and classic car enthusiast, sees the benefit of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

ULEZ was implemented in London in April 2019 and was the first in the world. ULEZ for Central London covered the same area as the congestion charge and was soon expanded to the edge of the North-South Circular in October 2021.

A non-compliant vehicle pays £12.50 per day to enter the zone and can be fined up to £170 for not paying the fee on time.

TfL research has shown that following implementation, there has been a 44 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NO2) in the central area and a 20 per cent reduction in the expanded area. This will lead to a significant reduction in premature deaths.

The implementation of ULEZ is widely seen as a success in Central London. However, the planned expansion to the borders of the Greater London Boroughs on the 29th of August 2023 is facing resistance from some of those boroughs and neighbouring counties.

There are exemptions for classic cars and a grace period for people with specialist vehicles. If you’re unsure whether your vehicle complies with the rules, use the dedicated TfL vehicle checker.

If asked, most people would prefer to live in an area of clean air that prevents people from suffering from respiratory diseases (especially their children). Yet there is resistance, removing some noticeable political differences, illuminating the lack of readiness or preparation for an essential change.

Many supporters have asked for a delay in implementation but not the cessation of the plans. They would like to see the government step in with help for those impacted outside of London. The Liberal Democrats have estimated that over one million drivers will be affected by the change in the home counties such as Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Within London, the mayor has set aside £110 million for a scrappage scheme to help Londoners with non-compliant vehicles but nothing for non-Londoners.

The benefits of cleaner air will have a mainly positive impact on the property industry:

  • Increase in property values: The improved air quality resulting from the implementation of ULEZ can make areas more attractive to live in, leading to an increase in demand for properties and, therefore, an increase in property values.
  • Encourages investment: The implementation of ULEZ can create an opportunity for property investors to invest in areas that are set to benefit from the scheme. This can lead to the regeneration of areas and increased economic activity.
  • Support for sustainable development: ULEZ can encourage property developers to invest in sustainable developments, such as energy-efficient buildings, that help reduce emissions.

Financial costs are associated with achieving cleaner air, such as vehicle replacement, additional development costs and impact on employment where non-compliant vehicles are required for the journey.

Some counties and boroughs have requested a judicial review to ensure that the decision to implement the change has been made so legally.

It would be helpful if the neighbouring counties, some of which have inferior air quality, were to embrace the change and have their timelines for implementing ULEZ.

Then we could all bathe in the clean air rather than just the Londoners.

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