London party

Rapid rollout of Ultra-Low Emission Zone threatens London businesses

Businesses need more time to prepare for the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on August 29, 2023, business leaders say.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has asked Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London to consider current pressures on London businesses before extending the ULEZ.

Businesses in London have suffered from the pandemic, labor shortages and rising overheads, according to the LCCI, which represents businesses of all sizes in all London local authorities.

LCCI chief executive Richard Burge warned: “Any policy that is rushed and disregards corporate demands will have short and long term consequences for our city.”

The current ULEZ boundary operates on the North and South Circular Routes, but the 2023 proposals cover most areas of the M25.

ULEZ PROPOSAL: light green area is location of proposed ULEZ expansion: dark green is current area, red is congestion charge (Image via tfl.gov.uk)

With 12 months to adapt, some small businesses may not be able to afford the initial costs of switching to ULEZ-compliant vehicles.

A vehicle is essential to the operation of many businesses, and with global supply chain issues and Brexit negatively influencing delivery times, businesses are likely to be impacted by the new ULEZ zone.

Strong demand for new and used vehicles is also exacerbated by the limited supply of semiconductor chips.

LCCI has suggested that TfL should allow companies to use a non-compliant vehicle beyond the introduction of the new ULEZ if they have already purchased a compliant vehicle and are simply awaiting delivery.

Despite these pressures, LCCI is keen to see London’s air quality improve.

Research commissioned by LCCI and London Councils found that air quality was very important to businesses in the capital, according to more than 1,000 London businesses surveyed.

Burge said: “We are very pleased to see that TfL and the Mayor of London are taking action to reduce air pollution in the capital, but we urge both parties to consider the impact of these proposals on business. London businesses that are essential to our city’s economy.

“We hope the Chamber can engage more with both parties to represent the interests of London businesses.”

Featured Image: Pixabay