Sadiq Khan talks on the expansion of the ULEZ
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Drivers travelling within the ULEZ boundaries will now be charged £12.50 per day unless their vehicle meets exemption criteria. Until now, an estimated 60,000 vehicles paid the £12.50 ULEZ fee each day, and with the new rules, an additional 138,000 non-compliant vehicles will be charged.
The scheme has been expanded in response to illegal levels of air pollution in London’s residential streets.
Air pollution contributes to a staggering 4,000 premature deaths per year in the city, and it was feared that toxic levels would only rise unless stark action was taken.
The first death officially caused by air pollution was of nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah from Lewisham, who died after an asthma attack in 2013.
Speaking to the BBC, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is a matter of life and death. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
According to ClientEarth, Newport, Cambridge, Norwich, Glasgow, Birmingham, Southampton, Edinburgh, Stoke on Trent, Sheffield, Bath, Manchester, Liverpool, and many more cities across the UK have recorded illegal levels nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution.
Express.co.uk asked 2,381 readers from across the country whether they think cities across the UK should introduce ULEZs, and only 12 percent of voters said yes.
This could be because of a lack of attention and education towards British air pollution and how devastating the effects can be on health.
However, many voters felt that charging people more money to enter the city in their own car was not the right solution to city air pollution.
One voter said: “Being robbed to drive on roads motorists have paid for time and time again is not honest, honourable, right or correct!
“Politicians encouraged car use, we shouldn’t be paying for their mistakes or losing freedom because of them!”
Another said: “We pay road tax and fuel duty to travel on all Britain’s roads.
“We cannot have additional tax to enter certain cities.”
Other Express readers felt there are not enough public transport options in many cities to be able to get into town quickly and easily.
A voter commented: “It can only work if you have good public transport already in place. Most places have not.”
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to announce in the Treasury’s Budget, £6.9billion of funding to fuel a “local transport revolution” which will “level up commutes and journey times”.
If local transport becomes efficient over the coming years, it is expected less people in cities will use cars, which could be a preferable solution to air pollution compared to the introduction of a ULEZ.
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A big worry for voters was the effect a ULEZ charge might have on local businesses in the city centre.
One reader remarked: “You will kill town centres – stupid idea.”
With Covid having hit local businesses hard, funnelling shoppers towards the high street is seen as a priority, and the Government has recently increased the contactless shopping allowance from £45 to £100 per transaction in attempts to get Britons spending.
How do you think the Government should tackle the UK air pollution crisis? Have your voice heard in the comments below.
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