SME fleets that have leased plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology to access central London without charge now face a rise in costs.
The previous Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), which enabled cars such as PHEVs to qualify thanks to meeting the sub 75g/km of CO2 while having a minimum of 20 miles of zero emission range requirement, no longer applies.
From 25 October 2021, the new cleaner vehicle discount will change so that only battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible. The discount will disappear altogether from 25 December 2025.
The change coincides with the introduction of the enlarged Ultra Low Emission Zone which is 18 times the size of the current central London zone and covers the area of London circumscribed by the North and South Circular (but not the arterial roads themselves).
According to the Mayor of London, 87 per cent of vehicles travelling in the zone already meet ULEZ standards, up from 39 per cent in February 2017 when plans for expansion were first announced.
With so many vehicles compliant, only some 110,000 vehicles each day are likely to need to pay the £12.50 charge says the Mayor.
The ULEZ expansion, alongside tighter Londonwide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards for heavy vehicles introduced in March, are expected to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from road transport by 30 per cent across London in 2021 according to the Mayor’s communique.
It makes the expanded ULEZ the largest of its type in Europe.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, added:
This is a landmark day for our city. I pledged to be the greenest Mayor London’s ever had and I am incredibly proud that expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone today will clean up London’s toxic air pollution and help tackle the global climate emergency by reducing emissions.
Jordan Cummins, CBI London Head of Policy, said:
The CBI recognises and welcomes the Mayor’s continued commitment to improving London’s air quality. The extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone comes at a critical moment, as the UK hosts COP26, and the capital continues to set a world-leading example to global cities on emissions reduction. To achieve this, with business as a partner, it is also critical that we look to secure a cohesive London-wide set of clean air policies – supporting consumers and businesses to make the shift to cleaner vehicles and delivering the charging and refuelling infrastructure that is required to reach the capital’s net zero ambitions.
For more on which cars are eligible, the TfL website provides further information.