London businesses need more time to prepare before the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanded

The London Chamber supports the Mayor of London’s efforts to improve London’s air quality, but urges more discussion and consideration before the ULEZ expansion is finalised 

London, 1 August 2022 – The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the capital’s largest independent business advocacy organisation, has submitted a response to TfL and the Mayor of London’s consultation on the expansion of the ULEZ and a future road user charging scheme, calling for more consideration to be given to the impact on businesses in London.

While LCCI wholeheartedly supports the Mayor’s effort to improve air quality for Londoners and to reduce the city’s carbon emissions, this must not be to the detriment of London businesses who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, labour shortages and the cost of doing business crisis. The Chamber urges the Mayor of London and TfL to take these issues into account and to engage with London based businesses to find a viable solution.  

One of the key issues LCCI identified with the current proposal is that businesses have not been granted enough time to prepare for the expansion of the ULEZ, which will constrain the ability of firms to make adequate preparations and to switch to ULEZ compliant vehicles before 29 August 2023. There is already high demand for new and second-hand vehicles, due in part to the global pressures on the supply of semiconductor chips, which could lead to unnecessary business costs and anxiety, especially for small businesses who are unable to shoulder the weight of upfront costs. The Chamber also highlighted that a sufficient scrappage scheme must be put in place to support firms’ transition to new vehicles. 

Regarding the consultation on the future of road user charging in London, LCCI was encouraged to see that TfL and the Mayor of London have explored a scheme that will help London achieve its ambitions for reaching net zero. However, the Chamber strongly advises  the parties involved to reach an agreement on a ‘smart’ road user charging scheme which takes into account the requirements of many businesses who have no choice but to use a vehicle for work and are restricted on the times that they drive.  

Commenting on the consultation, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London  Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:  

“We are very pleased to see that TfL and the Mayor of London are taking steps to reduce air pollution in London, but we urge both parties to consider the impact of these proposals on London businesses which are the lifeblood of the capital’s economy. Policies that are rushed and fail to account for businesses’ requirements will ultimately have negative outcomes for our city, both in the short and longer term. The Chamber welcomes further engagement with both parties to ensure a workable solution is reached which serves the needs of London’s  businesses community”.