Zone will now cover the area up to the North and South Circular roads.

The London ultra-low emission congestion-charging zone will expand to an area 18 times larger than expected, the Mayor of London has confirmed.

The zone, which will be known as the ULEZ, will see all vehicles that fail to meet certain emissions criteria charged £12.50 a day for entering the city. At present, the plan is to charge any petrol car that does not meet the Euro 4 emissions standard or any diesel car that does not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard.

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Originally, the zone had been expected to arrive in 2020 and cover the city centre, but the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced that it will arrive in 2019, then expand to cover the area up to the North and South Circular roads in 2021.

Khan said the move would help deal with London’s ‘shameful’ air pollution.

‘Tackling London’s lethal air and safeguarding the health of Londoners requires bold action,’ he said. ‘Air pollution is a national health crisis and I refuse to stand back as thousands of Londoners breathe in air so filthy that it shortens our life expectancy, harms our lungs and worsens chronic illness.

‘An expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone, in conjunction with the Central London ULEZ, will really help transform the air that millions of Londoners breathe.’

The RAC has expressed caution about the move, claiming that businesses and residents will be concerned by the speed at which the measures are being introduced.

‘Nobody doubts the need to clean up London’s air, but the expansion of the ULEZ represents a huge move into residential areas within the North and South Circular,’ said the motoring organisation’s spokesperson Nicholas Lyes.

‘Residents and small businesses within this area now have just three years to become compliant with the Mayor’s emission standards. This means many now face the daunting challenge of having to spend substantial amounts of money on a newer vehicle or face a daily charge of £12.50 to use their vehicles from October 2021.

‘These time pressures and costs will be keenest felt by those from low income backgrounds, as well as those who work in roles such as hospitality and depend on using a car at night when public transport is not readily available.’

However, Khan has expressed a desire to help drivers make the switch to low-emission vehicles, and says he wants the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme.

‘Some motorists will need help switching to greener transport options,’ he admitted. ‘City Hall is urging ministers to deliver a diesel scrappage scheme to get the dirtiest cars off our roads and offer drivers a fair deal – especially the many diesel drivers who brought vehicles thinking they were more environmentally friendly after Government advice.’