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One-Third of London Businesses Say ULEZ Expansion Will Negatively Affect Employees

Wednesday 12 July 2023

The latest round of polling conducted by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has revealed that a third of London businesses (33%) are worried about ULEZ having a negative impact on their employees. These businesses include micro companies, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and large businesses, across both inner and outer London.

LCCI has asked the London Deputy Mayor for Transport Seb Dance to seek a grace period for all Londoners who have ordered brand new compliant vehicles but have been informed that delivery will be delayed past 29 August 2023 due to issues such as supply chain delays. Such a grace period would be in line with the relief period the Mayor has already agreed for small businesses.

While the figures show that 47% of London businesses thought the ULEZ expansion would have no impact on their employees, a significant minority of 33% were still worried about the negative consequences of the expansion.

LCCI’s data showed that there was a divergence in views based on business location. It appears that two fifths (39%) of outer London companies are worried that the ULEZ expansion will negatively affect their employees as compared to 29% of businesses based in inner London.

Only 15% of all businesses thought it would have a positive impact on their employees. When it comes to the cost of doing business, 40% of the companies based in outer London believe that ULEZ expansion will negatively affect their costs, although 46% felt there would be no impact and 13% think the expansion will have a positive impact on costs.

The London Chamber welcomes the short grace period to sole traders, micro businesses, small businesses and registered charities as well as significant improvements to the ULEZ vehicle scrappage scheme.

London is facing a global chip shortage. This means that even though Londoners can be responsible and buy a ULEZ compliant vehicle but through no fault of their own, the vehicles may not necessarily be delivered in time before the ULEZ expansion to outer London.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive Officer at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, 

“Our members have expressed concerns that their employees might be unfairly penalised if they bought a ULEZ compliant vehicle which was not delivered in time for the ULEZ extension to outer London. At a time when businesses are doing their best to provide hybrid working options and are making progress in getting staff back into the office, we don’t want the ULEZ expansion to hinder their crucial efforts. London’s workers deserve the same consideration as London’s businesses and for this grace period to apply to them as well so that every Londoner can work together to improve the air quality across our capital. “

James Watkins, Head of Policy and Public Impact at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, 

“Good air quality is integral to all of us - businesses as well as employees. However, we believe that during this cost of living crisis, this health measure should not be viewed as another tax but, instead, as a vital step to improve air quality. Our members in logistics and travel hubs have advised that workers travelling to work places should not be penalised if they have bought a ULEZ compliant vehicle but with the risk remaining that the vehicles may not be delivered in time for August.”

LCCI is pleased that the Greater London Authority (GLA) decided to consider the needs of SMEs by providing relaxation on ULEZ compliant vehicles six-months post the roll-out. A significant number of small businesses who may have struggled to survive will now be able to continue being in business thanks to the changes to the scrappage scheme.

Notes To Editors:

  • Savanta surveyed a total of 510 London business leaders between 26 April to 30 May 2023. All data were weighted to be representative of all London businesses by company size and broad industry sector. Savanta is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.savanta.com.
  • Three categories for business size are used: micro (0-9 employees), small and medium-sized (SMEs, 10-249 employees), and large (250+ employees).
  • In LCCI’s last round of polling, there were questions on the perceived impact of the expanded ULEZ. Businesses were asked what the impact would be on:
    • Their volumes of trade
    • Their employees
    • Their costs
  • Spokespeople available for interviews should you wish to speak to LCCI.