TfL website crashes on morning of ULEZ expansion, leaving many London drivers waiting to see if their car is compliant

29 August 2023, 12:07 | Updated: 29 August 2023, 12:21

TFL website crashes on the morning of Ulez expansion.
TFL website crashes on the morning of Ulez expansion. Picture: Alamy

By Jasmine Moody

Drivers were left waiting to see if they would have to pay the controversial £12.50 charge.

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As part of the Ulez expansion, Transport for London (TFL) launched a website where users would put in their vehicle's registration details to check if they would be charged.

The Ulez number plate checker website suffered from technical errors, forcing anxious Londoners to wait to see if their car would be ‘green enough'.

Visitors were greeted with the message: “Please wait. Our website is busier than usual. You are now in a queue, and your expected wait time is 4 minute(s). If you prefer not to wait, please try again later.”

Some users were greeted with: “Request blocked. Sorry, your request was blocked by our automated security systems.”

One X user wrote: "TfL vehicle checker currently putting you in a queue”.

Another added: “Thought I’d check my car’s #ULEZ status this morning, just to make sure I don’t fall foul of the @SadiqKhan stealth tax. This is the ULEZ vehicle checker site! The scheme, the website and the man, all unfit for purpose”.

It comes as Sadiq Khan's Ulez expansion was rolled out today, meaning non-compliant vehicles travelling into these zones have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 in order to drive in these zones.

Read more: 'It's not about air quality, it's about raising money!': Transport secretary slams Sadiq Khan's divisive Ulez expansion

Read more: Drivers offer residents of ULEZ-free road ‘£100 a month’ to use their driveways in bid to dodge fees

Some Ulez signs have been vandalised.
Some Ulez signs have been vandalised. Picture: Alamy

The vehicles most likely to face the charge are petrol-fuelled, introduced before 2005.

Petrol cars and vans may be exempt if their engine complies with more recent Euro 6 rules, which were introduced in September 2015.

Ulez was first announced in 2014 by then Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Current London mayor Sadiq Khan then introduced the scheme in April 2019, applying it to more vehicle types such as cars, vans and motorcycles.

The areas covered included those within the North and South Circular Roads.

In November 2022, Sadiq Khan announced that Ulez would expand London-wide on the 29th August 2023, to cover areas in outer London, including Kingston upon Thames, Croydon and Barnet.

He said: "This is a landmark day for our city which will lead to a greener, healthier London for everyone. 

"The decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues.”

Motorists have hit out at Sadiq Khan after the expansion.
Motorists have hit out at Sadiq Khan after the expansion. Picture: Alamy

In the run-up to the expansion, the scheme has been met with heavy opposition from all sides of the public and political spectrum.

Opposition has included vigilante style attacks on Ulez cameras, with nine out of 10 cameras having been vandalised, according to crowd-sourced data.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper slammed the expansion, saying, “It’s not about air quality, it’s about raising money from hard-pressed Londoners and that is why we don’t support it. But we don’t have the power to block it.”

Critics from within the Labour Party have been vocal, with Labour MP for Ellesmere Port, Justin Madders, calling the Ulez expansion an “expense too many” during a cost-of-living crisis”

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