Drivers face being ‘priced off the road’ by city access fees

Drivers face being ‘priced off the road’ by city access fees

Up to half a million motorists in London and Birmingham face being “priced off the road” due to clean air zone charges, according to new analysis.

The AA said its research showed there is a risk many people who rely on their cars for essential journeys will not be able to afford the fees for city driving.

Birmingham is introducing a clean air zone on June 1, while London’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez) will be expanded on October 25.

The schemes involve charging drivers if they enter a certain area with a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards.

Daily fees are £12.50 in London, while Birmingham will charge £8.

The AA estimates the capital’s residents own between 250,000 and 300,000 non-compliant cars.

A further 100,000 vehicles liable for the charge normally enter the city from outside the expanded Ulez zone each day, with the same amount of affected cars owned by people living in Birmingham.

That means up to half a million drivers will be denied access to the two inner cities or face charges, according to the AA.

Edmund King, AA president, commented: “Millions of drivers in London will find themselves on the wrong side of the road when the Ulez scheme is expanded.

“There is a very real risk that many people who rely on their car for essential journeys will be priced off the road.

“With the whole country back in lockdown, this is likely to have an even bigger impact than previously thought as more people will be trying to avoid public transport by using private cars.”

He added that it can be cheaper to lease a new car from the AA – that complies with the latest emissions standards – than pay daily city access charges.

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