ULEZ has become an increasingly divisive policy, with those on both sides having some valid points.
It’s now reported that two-thirds of applications to the scrappage scheme have failed, leaving over half of the fund unclaimed. While limiting city emissions should be a priority, action us needed to prevent London from becoming increasingly unliveable.
There are alternative green transport strategies can provide flexibility and scalability that fixed infrastructure schemes like ULEZ lack.
There are certain things on which we can all agree. Firstly, the UK must improve air quality targets and reduce carbon emissions to deliver cleaner, healthier and more liveable cities for residents. And secondly, ULEZ isn’t the only option and in fact, may not be the best one available.
One alternative option is Emissions Based Parking (EBP). This targets higher-polluting vehicles when they park, instead of charging a one-off toll when they pass a certain point. It’s simple and cheap to enforce and encourages, rather than forces, electric vehicle adoption.
EBP led to a 16% reduction in polluting vehicles when introduced by Westminster City Council in 2017. The scheme has now been adopted by almost half of London boroughs, with Hackney Council launching its EBP system in April 2023. It also enables councils to adapt the scheme to local needs. Different areas within a council can be charged at different rates, meaning the needs of residents can be considered.
We cannot afford to be tunnel-visioned when it comes to our cities. We must explore and combine every avenue to make our cities cleaner, healthier and more liveable.
Peter O’Driscoll is managing director of RingGo
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