London’s emergency services are struggling to meet the proposed earlier deadline for complying with London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), according to a Freedom of Information request.
Information obtained by London Assembly member Shaun Bailey shows all three emergency services are concerned about the financial and logistical impact of a 2019 introduction.
The ULEZ will require all vehicles – including those run by the emergency services - travelling inside the zone to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge of £12.50.
Boris Johnson proposed to introduce the ULEZ in 2020 but Sadiq Khan has pledged to bring forward the date to 2019 and wants to widen the zone to the North and South Circular.
Responses by all three emergency services to the current public consultation, obtained through freedom of information requests, show that:
The Metropolitan Police says:
- It needs to replace 82%of its entire fleet
- That despite a replacement programme, financial restraints mean that by 2020 it will still have 800 non-compliant vehicles facing daily charges
- Tight budgets mean it is unlikely to be able to replace the vehicles early
- It has asked the Mayor for concessions on its non-compliant vehicles
London Fire Brigade says:
- If the ULEZ is brought forward to 2019, it will have 52 non-compliant vehicles on the road facing daily charges – potentially costing a quarter of a million pounds per year.
London Ambulance says:
- It needs to replace 828 diesel vehicles and 27 petrol vehicles before the fleet is ULEZ compliant
- It will have to modify its replacement programme if the deadline is brought forward
London Assembly member Shaun Bailey said: “It seems unbelievable that our emergency services are not exempt from this pollution tax given their whole reason for driving in London is to save lives.
“Of course it makes sense that over time they should introduce more modern vehicles to their fleet but the financial pressures the early deadline is placing on their already tight budgets could put at risk the ability to do their jobs.
“The consultation responses I’ve uncovered show our emergency services are concerned. The Mayor should immediately give them an exemption or at least provide some flexibility on their compliance.
“These services cannot and should not be hit with a financial burden stretching into the millions of pounds when their travel is so vital and their environmental impact so minimal.”