"Difficult year" to go ahead with Ulez as people struggle with cost of living, says Martin Lewis

2 February 2023, 13:45

Martin Lewis told LBC "I think it is a difficult year to be introducing ULEZ"
Martin Lewis told LBC "I think it is a difficult year to be introducing ULEZ". Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Harvey Lindsay

Money guru Martin Lewis has said he hopes Sadiq Khan will 'soften' his approach to expanding the London Ulez as millions of people grapple with the increasing cost of living.

Sadiq Khan announced a major expansion to the Ulez zone that means hundreds of thousands more motorists will pay a daily rate of £12.50 to use their cars.

It will cover the whole of London from August 29.

Mr Khan said extending the ultra-low emission zone to cover the whole of the city was "one of the toughest decisions I've taken".

But speaking at an event at City Hall today, Martin Lewis said: "It's clearly controversial. There's two elements - there's the environmental element and the financial element battling up against each other.

"The aim is what has been done to clear the air, nobody can argue with that. I think it is a difficult year to be introducing ULEZ amidst the cost of living crisis.

"I asked the Mayor if he thought it was the right time. We're here talking about the cost of living and clearly it is always going to be difficult to introduce a new charge amidst the cost of living crisis.

"It is my hope that there is some softening, and I use that word deliberately and politically, some softening of the ULEZ requirements to help those people that are struggling with the cost of living."

Sadiq Khan said: "We have to do a better job at making sure Londoners are aware of the scrappage scheme, more than £110million on top of the £61million announced a couple of years ago.

"We have also listened to Londoners who have said can we have a longer exception for our disabled vehicles until 2027 and we have also listened to those Londoners who have said rather than buying another vehicle, I'd like to have free bus and tram travel, so they can now get free travel cards for a year."

The scheme, which operates at all times except Christmas Day, is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads.

Transport for London (TfL) estimates that on an average day about 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans that use London's roads would be liable for the £12.50 ULEZ fee.

The expansion will force tens of thousands of those drivers in more polluting vehicles to switch to vehicles that comply with the minimum emissions standards or to dump their cars altogether.

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City Hall says the expansion will mean five million Londoners will breathe cleaner air.

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