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Ultra Low Emission Zone leaves London drivers fearing for their health, safety and feeling marooned – AA 

posted on 05/07/2023
Ultra Low Emission Zone leaves London drivers fearing for their health, safety and feeling marooned – AA 

With a judicial review of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion due to start tomorrow (Tues) *, AA research finds that London drivers fear that being priced off the road by the £12.50 daily charge will impact on their health and safety. 

Nearly two in every five (39%) of London drivers agree that being forced to abandon their cars ‘would be such an obstacle to being able to travel that I fear I would essentially become marooned in my local area’. Across the UK, 62% of over-65 year olds feel this way. 

Up to 300,000 car-owning London residents are expected to be impacted by the expansion of the ULEZ to Outer London, with large numbers of them unable to afford to buy a replacement car that complies with the emissions standards. They are therefore being priced off the road. Many of those were identified by the ULEZ Impact Assessment commissioned by Transport for London as living in deprived areas. 

The same assessment showed that large areas of Outer London have low to minimal access to public transport (page 87 of the attached file) **. 

AA research ***, which surveyed 948 Londoners among 14,668 AA members across the UK, shows that among those London drivers losing the use of their cars would: 

Be a threat to their health: It would make attending doctor or hospital appointments so difficult that it would be bad for my health – 22% agree, It would be such an obstacle to being able to seek the health care I need that I consider it a threat to my wellbeing – 24% agree (47% among over-65s across the UK).                                                     

Put them under a night-time curfew: Losing my car would mean going out at night would be almost impossible - 23% agree (38% among women across the UK).                                                   

Leave them feeling marooned: It would be such an obstacle to being able to travel that I fear I would essentially become marooned in my local area – 39% agree (62% among over 65s across the UK).                                                                         

Wreck family life: It would disrupt family life to such an extent that I don't think we could function in the way we need to – 44% agree, I or my family would have no option but to move to somewhere that doesn't deprive residents of their cars – 23% agree.      

Force them to find a new job: It would disrupt my working life to such an extent that I would have to find another job – 17% (57% among 18-24 year olds across the UK). 

While the ULEZ expansion faces a legal challenge this week, it is possible that the review may decide in favour of the Mayor. In that case, the AA suggests two measures that could greatly relieve the impact of the ULEZ on poorer and older Londoners, and an alternative with much greater and longer-term benefits:

TRAVEL RATIONING: Oxford, with its car ban, offers residents and those just outside the restricted zones permits that allow them to travel a certain number of days a year (Traffic filters | Oxfordshire County Council). 

TIME-LIMITED EXEMPTIONS: For residents and the low-paid in Birmingham (Applications open for Clean Air Zone exemption permits | Birmingham City Council

PARK AND RIDE / PARK AND CYCLE: With the success of Cambridge in converting millions of car journeys into bus trips each year (population just 150,000), an expanded system of park and ride facilities close to major roads heading in and out of London would not only cut emissions and congestion but would continue to do so long after the ULEZ non-compliant vehicles have gone on the scrap heap. 

“Everyone wants cleaner air but the AA survey among our London members shows that, for those that can’t afford to upgrade their cars and now face being priced off the road, the expanded ULEZ’s daily charges are a threat to their health, their well-being, their safety and family life,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president. 

“The Mayor has announced an expanded scrappage scheme for private car owners but, once again, it is limited to those on benefits – not those working long hours and multiple jobs to improve their quality of life, nor the elderly who invested in cars they thought would be their last and provide the mobility for their health needs, nor those for whom cars make them feel safe when they travel – particularly at night.”

*Article Source

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