UK ULEZ schemes pickpocket £418m from the public

Research has highlighted that more than £400m has been raised from ULEZ schemes in the UK since March 2021

ULEZ Low Emissions Zone

ON the eve of the London ULEZ expanding to cover the entire Greater London area, research calculates that the true cost to the road user is more than £400m in fees and charges.

The data calculates both ULEZ schemes and similar Clean Air Zones in the UK, of which there are nine currently although that number is set to rise. The news comes from Peugeot, which obtained the information via freedom of information requests.
Sky News reports that the majority of this money was raised between October 2021 and April 2023, when the London ULEZ was last extended to include areas within the North and South Circular roads. That revenue could be about to increase further, as the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has rubber-stamped an even larger footprint - coming into force on the 29th of August 2023. 

A ULEZ camera being vandalized Credit: Metropolitan Police

Sky News also highlights how some of the UK’s other clean air zones have performed and it was Birmingham that was the next best performing, generating £79m between June 2021 and April 2023. Bath’s scheme made £10m between March 2021 and May 2023, while Bradford’s clean air zone, which was only rolled out in September 2022, made £7m in fees and charges in the period leading up to June 2023. The funds raised by ULEZ schemes in the UK are used by councils and governments to help deliver local transport policies and upgrades.

ULEZ map as of 2021 expansion.

The schemes, and the expansion of them, have been a divisive subject, for those living in the areas they are implemented and the wider public. While some have backed the schemes, others simply see them as another tax on working people, who already pay road tax and fuel duty to use their private vehicles. There is also an argument that ULEZ schemes target the lowest-earning people in society, with healthcare workers, those working in the education sector, and people who work in the UK’s gig economy just some of the hardest hit.

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