London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and congestion zone is expanding significantly from Monday, 25 October.
The aim is to reduce traffic emissions and improve poor air quality.
This expansion will have an impact for those who study, work and live in Kingston, Richmond and surrounding areas.
The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week except for Christmas day.
Vehicles will need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or pay a daily charge of £12.50 to drive inside the zone.
For some, this is on top of the £15.00 congestion fee, which means a daily charge of £27.50.
TFL London has said that if the ULEZ charge is not paid within 24 hours the penalty is £160 (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days).
There are no barriers or toll booths. Instead, cameras will read number plates to tell if the vehicles meet the emission standards.
Alan Fox, a retired car garage owner from Twickenham, said: “My car data is wrong on the government checker. It is a brand new 2021 car and their checker said that I have to pay both congestion and ULEZ charge. I checked with another car, exactly the same model, and that one doesn’t have to pay. It’s a joke.”
Like other residents Alan is worried about the local Townmead Recycling Centre which will fall under the new ULEZ zone: “How will we get rid of our rubbish and recycling? It’s going to encourage fly tipping,” said Alan.
Richmond Council had asked TFL to make the recycling centre exempt but TFL refused.
Adam Ski, from Petersham, said he was devastated: “The crematorium near the recycling centre is where my loved ones are buried. The ULEZ has stopped me from visiting them.”
There is a petition to lift the ULEZ from Townmead recycling centre.
The government has promised that any money received from the ULEZ will be reinvested into improving the transport network.
Kingston local Mary Hatcham said: “It’s another way for the government to make money. I can’t see my daughter or grandchildren now. They fall under the ULEZ. We are too old to take public transport, especially with the scare of Covid. We can’t all get on a bike. And we don’t have computers or phones to pay the charge.”
The ULEZ is also going to affect young people such as students at Kingston University who drive through the ULEZ zone.
“I already pay loads for parking every day to come to the university and now this. I didn’t even know about it. I don’t know what I’m going to do from Monday,” said a student at Kingston University.
To find out whether your car will be exempt from the charges, you can enter your vehicle registration number on the Transport for London website: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-vrm-checker