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Take a Deep Breath!

Take a Deep Breath!

It’s finally time for ‘ULEZ’

[Ultra Low Emission Zone]

The Expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone [‘ULEZ’] came into force on Monday 25 October 2021,

The zone will now cover all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. The actual North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone.

Even if you make a short trip inside the zone using a vehicle that doesn't meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you need to pay that £12.50 daily charge. However, you don't need to pay the ULEZ charge if you are parked inside the zone and don't drive. Drivers can choose to pay in advance or on the day of travel.

But will the £12.50 daily charge to drive your non-ULEZ compliant vehicle affect the property market?

Most property agents don’t think so. “I don’t see the ULEZ being of immediate concern for either buyers or sellers,” says Federico Losurdo, head of sales at Interlet Estates, ‘People have seen this coming for a long time'.

Losurdo sees this as a part of a longer trend ‘We need to accept that for non-cyclists, transport options in central London will eventually come down to electric cars or public transport.”

The expanded ULEZ could eventually raise up to £2m a day for transport for London. But who else could benefit? S Iswaran, head of Interlet Property Management sees long-term benefit in living within the zone.

“As clean air quality becomes more of an issue, it will impact on property too.’

‘In the longer term, homeowners living in safer and less toxic environments will benefit most. There is evidence that air quality already influences international expats deciding between different cities.’

Road vehicles are the single biggest cause of London's air pollution. They produce around half of all nitrogen oxides and emit tiny particles of rubber and metal - too small to see with the naked eye - into the air we breathe.

These particles termed ‘PM2.5s’ are the subject of intense study. PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about 3% the diameter of a human hair. Particles in this category are so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope.

Despite recent improvements in air quality, this pollution is still a big environmental risk to health, harming lungs, worsening chronic illnesses such as asthma, lung and heart disease and putting children at risk. A study from Imperial College London estimated that in 2019 over 4,000 Londoners died because of the impact of toxic air.

Some householders are trying to capitalise on the growing awareness of this issue by making homes ‘environment proof’. Environmental measures include air purification systems and installing solar or other eco-friendly heating.

Other factors to consider are the cars that people drive, how they purchase them, and how long they own them. An expanded ULEZ, forcing people to replace their cars or go without, could prove costly, particularly for those who drive from necessity. Trading up to newer, ever lower-emission cars may offset the ‘ULEZ impact’ on housing, but only for those able to afford it.

The clean air issue may not yet be exerting any significant influence on central London house prices. However, living in London teaches us that all things change. As reports and awareness continue to multiply and grow, expect to see more and more ‘eco savvy’ buyers entering the market, pushing this issue ever higher on the property market agenda.

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