This Tuesday, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who will enter his seventh year in this esteemed position next May, announced a widespread expansion of the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) zone for early 2023.
ULEZ has been in place since April 2019, with the aim of significantly reducing carbon emissions in the central London area, correlating with the recent emphasis upon action against climate change by our government, especially in the last fifteen years, with the introduction of the Climate Change Act of 2008 outlining a plan to reduce the UK's carbon footprint by at least 100% from it's impact in 1990.
The concept of ULEZ has been held as largely responsible for a 20% decrease in emissions in the two months following the system's advent, as well as the drop in nitrous oxide occuring at a rate five times greater in central London than anywhere else in the country.
However, despite the clear benefits of the push for pastures green, the issue of the Ultra Low Emission Zone has been a contentious one from the start, with Gareth Bacon, Conservative leader in the Greater London Assembly from 2015-2019, reasoning that the heightened charge of £12.50 for the mere use of a non-electric vehicle is unsustainable and that those of the lower classes will be hit the hardest, as they may be struck by an extra £4500 tax bill, which, according to the now Parliamentary Private Secretary to Justice Brandon Lewis, could be detrimental to a low income household.
And these complaints will only be extrapolated by the expansion of the zone, which will stretch from the M25 down to Sevenoaks in 2023, with the area projected to be 18 times the size of central London and directly affect 3.8 million people, over 42% of London's population.
The health and environmental impacts of these changes may be monumental, but, simultaneously, coupled with the cost of living crisis and the extortionate London fuel prices, ULEZ may have unsalvageable monetary effects on the lower classes of London for years to come.