Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured) wants to create a network of 'Singapore-style' toll roads throughout London when the capital's motorists move over to electric cars

Sadiq Khan has revealed he wants to impose a network of ‘Singapore-style’ toll roads throughout London as part of his controversial scheme to improve the capital’s air quality.

As the Mayor of London yesterday confirmed the ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) will be expanded across all Greater London – he also revealed that he ultimately wants to scrap the scheme along with the congestion charge.

This comes as motorists expressed outrage as from next August, hundreds of thousands more drivers face a daily fee of £12.50 for using London’s roads – which could cost commuters £3,250-a-year as they face soaring household bills.

From August 29 the Ulez will be expanded to stretch more than 30 miles from Uxbridge to Upminster.

But Mr Khan said that in the long-term he was looking into ‘smart road-user charging’ potentially using cameras across London to replace the Ulez and congestion charge to come into place once the city’s motorists moved-over to electric cars.

He said the ‘nearest comparator’ for his plans was Singapore, which has ‘electronic road pricing’ which uses sensors attached to gantries over main roads to capture number plates.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured) wants to create a network of 'Singapore-style' toll roads throughout London when the capital's motorists move over to electric cars

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured) wants to create a network of ‘Singapore-style’ toll roads throughout London when the capital’s motorists move over to electric cars

The ultra-low emission zone will be expanded next year to cover the whole of Greater London

The ultra-low emission zone will be expanded next year to cover the whole of Greater London

An 'electronic road pricing' gantry on a road in the Central Area of Singapore - which uses sensors to detect vehicles and charge drivers bespoke tolls based on their movements

An ‘electronic road pricing’ gantry on a road in the Central Area of Singapore – which uses sensors to detect vehicles and charge drivers bespoke tolls based on their movements

These sensors track at what time drivers are using certain roads and charges them a toll based on these factors, for example rush-hour traffic on a busy road being more expensive.

But this change is not currently possible in London as ‘the technology is not there’, Mr Khan told the Telegraph.

He said that in the future he wants there to be technology that allows TfL to ‘get rid of’ the congestion charge and the Ulez and instead have drivers be charged a toll ‘on a bespoke basis’.

All vehicles which travel through Singapore’s smart toll roads need to be equipped with a device that the overhead sensors can detect – which could prove a sticking point in the Mayor’s plans if London were to adopt a similar technology.

Mr Khan said extending Ulez to cover the whole of the capital from August 29 next year is ‘one of the toughest decisions’ he’s had to take but that it will give five million Londoners cleaner air to breathe.

The scheme, which operates at all times except Christmas Day, is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads.

The Mayor denied that he was waging a war on London’s motorists saying the new Ulez expansion was ‘not anti-car’ or ‘anti people who need to get around’ like florists, electricians and plumbers.

But James Pearce, a teacher who lives half a mile outside the new Ulez zone, said it will now cost him £62.50 a week to travel to work unless he can fork out for a new car.

Mr Pearce said he is ‘hugely disappointed’ by the decision, adding: ‘In the midst of a cost of living crisis and with two years left to pay on my car, not good timing.’

Will YOU be affected? 

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the £12.50-a-day charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide it emits.

For diesel cars and vans to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered from 2016, while most petrol models registered from 2006 are exempt.

Drivers can check the status of their vehicle by entering its registration number on TfL’s website.

The charges only need to be paid if you drive your vehicle within the zone. Parked vehicles are not subject to any charges. 

Care worker and mother-of-two Carly Meechan said she does not know how she will be able to do her job, which requires her driving to lots of vulnerable people’s homes.

‘Are you going to buy me an electric car?’ she asked the London mayor. ‘I can barely afford to live on my wage as it is but someone’s got to do the job.’

Meanwhile pensioner Ann Craig, 68, who lives in Epsom, said she is on a low income and cannot afford to change her car but is worried that she won’t be able to travel for medical appointments as her local hospital will be in the new Ulez zone.

Transport for London (TfL) estimates that on an average day about 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans would be liable to pay the £12.50 Ulez fee once the area is expanded.

It will cost those who drive in the area every day £4,500-a-year if their vehicle does not meet the requirements.

But transport officials believe that by the end of next year the expansion of the scheme will have encouraged tens of thousands of those drivers to switch to vehicles that comply with the minimum emissions standards or use other modes of getting around such as walking, cycling or public transport.

The ULEZ expansion is only the latest action in Sadiq Khan’s war on motorists, including:

The Ulez scheme, which operates at all times except Christmas Day, is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads

The Ulez scheme, which operates at all times except Christmas Day, is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the £12.50-a-day charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide it emits.

For diesel cars and vans to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered from 2016, while most petrol models registered from 2006 are exempt.

Drivers can check the status of their vehicle by entering its registration number on TfL’s website.

Mr Khan said air pollution is making Londoners ‘sick from cradle to the grave’, with illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.

He described the Ulez as ‘transformational’ and claimed extending it will mean ‘five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives’.

It comes despite fierce opposition, with an independent report showing that four times the amount of people told Tfl they opposed the move than supported it.

The Conservative transport spokesperson in the Greater London Assembly Nick Rogers said: ‘The official report from TfL shows an overwhelming majority – about 60 per cent – of respondents are opposed to Sadiq Khan’s damaging plans to expand the ULEZ. 

‘This increases to 68 per cent when you exclude organised campaigns, and a staggering 80 per cent of people who work in outer London are against.

‘Now is not the time to hammer Londoners with a £12.50 daily cost-of-living charge. 

‘Residents have made their views very clear to the Mayor: they do not want the ULEZ expansion. The Mayor must listen to them, scrap these plans and use the £250 million saved on real measures that tackle air pollution.’

The mayor insisted that the rising cost-of-living was a ‘key consideration’ in his decision on whether to implement the proposal, which was featured in a public consultation between May and July.

This led to him to introduce measures such as a £110million scrappage scheme to support Londoners on lower incomes, disabled people, small businesses and charities to scrap or retrofit their non-compliant vehicles.

There will also be a major expansion of bus services in outer London.

Mr Khan added: ‘Expanding the Ulez London-wide has not been an easy decision. The easy thing for me would have been to kick the can down the road.

‘But in the end, public health comes before political expediency.

‘Our city is being smothered by toxic air—and it’s hurting and killing Londoners, leading to asthma, dementia, and even cancer. Air pollution particles have even been found in the livers and brains of unborn babies. We cannot stand idly by and allow this to continue.’

Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, who is the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on climate ambition and solutions, claimed Mr Khan’s leadership is ‘helping to clean London’s air and set an example for cities around the world’.

The new Ultra-low emission zone: What is it and how will it affect you? 

When and why was the Ulez created?

It was launched in April 2019 to clean up London’s air.

How bad is air quality in the capital?

An estimated 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year from conditions related to air pollution.

How does Ulez help?

It disincentivises drivers from using the most polluting vehicles by charging them a daily fee for entering the zone.

How much is the fee?

The charge for vehicles which do not comply with minimum emissions standards is £12.50 for cars, smaller vans, motorbikes and other lighter vehicles.

The fee for non-compliant larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches is £100 under the low emission zone scheme.

How do I avoid the fee when driving in the zone?

Ensure your vehicle meets the minimum emissions standard.

For petrol cars that means those generally first registered after 2006.

Most diesel cars registered after September 2015 are exempt from the charge.

When does the Ulez operate?

All day, every day, except Christmas Day.

How soon after a journey do I need to pay?

You have until midnight on the third day following the journey.

What happens if I am liable to the charge but do not pay?

Failing to pay can result in a penalty charge notice of £160, reduced to £80 for early payment.

What area is currently covered by the Ulez?

The zone initially covered the same area of central London as the congestion charge.

Since October 25 last year it has included everywhere within the North and South Circular roads.

How significant is the August 2023 expansion?

The zone will be 18 times larger, covering all London boroughs.

Meanwhile the chief executive of charity Asthma + Lung UK described the move as a ‘public health victory’.

Sarah Woolnough said: ‘This is a huge win for everyone’s lungs. Asthma + Lung UK is delighted that the Mayor of London has listened to our campaigners. 

‘We hope this will lead to fewer premature deaths and fewer hospital admissions linked to air pollution.

‘We urge other polluted cities to follow in London’s footsteps by introducing ambitious Clean Air Zones to protect everyone’s right to breathe cleaner air.’ 

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the announcement will be ‘a hammer-blow for desperate drivers and businesses already struggling with crippling fuel costs’

The chief executive of the National Franchised Dealer Association, which represents car and commercial retailers across the UK, also argued against the expansion during ‘one of Britain’s worst cost-of-living crises.’

Sue Robinson said: ‘The Ultra-Low Emissions Zone expansion will undoubtedly have a disproportionate and adverse effect on London’s most deprived communities and motorists.

‘This £12.50 daily charge will hit businesses, key workers and less affluent families the hardest and the additional cost to some of London’s poorest communities will push some families over the brink and force a reduction in their access to private mobility.

‘We do not believe that this has been fully considered by Transport for London and looks more and more to be a money generating scheme for TfL.’ 

Meanwhile Michael Lloyd of the Federation of Small Businesses said a ‘heavy-handed’ Ulez expansion will ‘leave many small firms in a precarious position’.

He added that a recent survey of affected small businesses suggested 18 per cent planned to shut down if the extension went ahead, and 25 per cent intended to pass the extra cost on to customers.

But Mr Khan has said the expansion is needed because the ‘current and long-term threat from toxic air pollution to public health is significant’, adding that harmful emissions will cost the NHS and social care £10.4billion if no further action is taken to improve air quality.

The Mayor is also concerned about traffic congestion which he said had an estimated cost to the London economy of £5.1billion last year. Mr Khan added that nearly two-thirds of the cost of congestion in the city has been attributed to traffic delays in outer London. 

He has said that in the short term, expanding the Ulez zone ‘will have the biggest effect on emissions relative to the cost to Londoners as a whole, as well as helping to tackle the climate emergency and traffic congestion’.

The staggering cost of driving in London has been laid bare in recent days, as it was revealed that parking firms are on track to issue demands for up to £1billion fines in the capital this year.

Meanwhile, London councils have issued 1.1 million fines – worth up to £100million – to motorists who drove through low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) over the past three years.

The multi-million pound schemes, which were put in place by the government to encourage a long-term move towards more cycling and walking, have been branded as council ‘cash cows’.

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