Half a million drivers in London and Birmingham could be 'priced off the road' under Clean Air Zone charges this year, according to motoring group The AA.
London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) is set to expand in October, with a daily charge of £12.50, while Birmingham drivers face a £8 daily charge for driving a non-compliant vehicle into the city centre from 1 June. A CAZ will also come into Bath on 15 March.
You can find out here if your vehicle is compliant or you will be charged for driving in a clean air zone.
Edmund King, AA president, said: 'Later this year, millions of drivers in London will find themselves on the wrong side of the road when the ULEZ scheme is expanded.
'There is a very real risk that many people who rely on their car for essential journeys will be priced off the road.
'With the whole country back in lockdown, this is likely to have an even bigger impact than previously thought as more people will be trying to avoid public transport by using private cars.'
London claims to have the toughest vehicle emission standards in the world. Its ULEZ standards are:
- Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category) - became mandatory for all new motorcycles from 2007
- Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles - became mandatory for all new cars in 2005 and light vans in 2006
- Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles - became mandatory for all new heavy duty engines for goods vehicles and buses from January 2014, September 2015 for cars and light vans, and September 2016 for larger vans up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight
- Euro VI (NOx and PM) for lorries, buses and coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles (NOx and PM)
From 25 October, the London ULEZ is expanding from central London to create a single, larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).
In response the AA has launched an electric vehcile leasing programme - AA Smart Lease - at a similar daily cost to the London ULEZ charge. Combined with lower fuel costs, the AA boasts that it could bring driver costs down to a £10 a day.
'For those drivers who were already considering the switch to electric, being able to lease one which includes the insurance, service and repairs, for a similar cost to paying the charge, could be a lifeline. It enables them to dip their toe into running an electric car, without any upfront costs, – as well as helping improve air quality,' Mr King said.
The AA estimate that around 400,000 vehicles will be impacted by London's ULEZ restrictions after the expansion with another 100,000 in Birmingham, which 'creates the potential for up to half a million cars to be denied access to the two inner cities – or forced to pay the daily penalty charges'.
Public Health England has put the annual mortality burden of human-made air pollution in the UK at roughly equivalent to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths.