The AA call on Sadiq Khan to lift daily £12.50 London ULEZ charge to protect drivers

ULEZ is a 'clumsy mechanism' says former MP Stephen Pound

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As petrol and diesel prices continue to rise and enormous strikes loom, the AA has called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to lift the ULEZ daily charge. Petrol costs feeding through to UK pumps fell by more than 2p a litre yesterday as oil dropped to its lowest since the start of June. 

However, petrol at the pump increased overnight by half a penny.

Average diesel prices also continue to climb steadily, piling yet more pressure on the UK economy.

The UK is set to be hit by major strikes next week with only about half of Britain’s rail network set to be open on the strike days with a very limited service.

People in London will also see further chaos with a number of Tube strikes taking place on the Overground, Bakerloo, District and Elizabeth lines.

The AA is calling on the London Mayor to suspend the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge that has priced tens of thousands of low-income workers with older cars off the road.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of Roads Policy, suggested that the ULEZ should be lifted to help low-income drivers hit by strikes next week.

He said: “Petrol prices today nudged up a half penny yesterday, which piles on more misery at the pumps but the glimmer of hope is that the oil price has dropped so this should feed through to the pumps sooner rather than later.

“Drivers, who are able to, should take advantage of the warm weather to cut out shorter car journeys, and to eco drive to save fuel. 

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“However, there is a torrid time ahead for travellers with train and tube strikes looming next week so perhaps the Mayor of London should suspend the ULEZ charge to help poorer commuters who will now have to turn to their cars. 

“The same should happen for low-income workers entering the Birmingham Clean Air Zone and facing an £8 a day charge if their cars are non-compliant with emissions restrictions. A one-year exemption ran out on May 31.”

Drivers of the most polluting vehicles must pay a £12.50 daily fee, with many low-income households relying on public transport in the capital to travel.

There are plans to expand the ULEZ charging area to include almost all of Greater London.

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The expansion of the ULEZ would be introduced on August 29, 2023, and would see an estimated 135,000 vehicles at risk of being charged at least £12.50 on a daily basis.

The AA estimated that one-third of car owners could be priced off the road by daily charges, with most drivers avoiding charges if their diesel vehicle was registered after September 2013 and petrol models registered after 2005.

It is feared that the majority of those priced off the road would be from lower-income backgrounds who may not be able to afford to buy a new, ULEZ-compliant car.

The AA proposed that other schemes could be introduced to address the emissions issues, including expanding the Park and Ride services as well as Park and Cycle schemes.

Yesterday, the average price of petrol rose to 187.01p a litre, having been 185.04p on Sunday and 130.69p a year ago. 

Diesel jumped to 193.30p a litre, having been 190.92p at the start of the week and 133.08p a year ago.

Oil’s drop to below $120 a barrel extended falling wholesale petrol prices, which would have fallen further were it not for the weakening of the pound. 

Wholesale diesel prices continue their upward march, so far this week adding 6p a litre to costs.

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