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Ulez expansion will add 13 minutes to life expectancy of average Londoner this year, study claims

The expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone will add 13 minutes to the life expectancy of the average Londoner this year, according to new analysis (Lucy North/PA) (PA Wire)
The expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone will add 13 minutes to the life expectancy of the average Londoner this year, according to new analysis (Lucy North/PA) (PA Wire)

The expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) will add 13 minutes to the life expectancy of the average Londoner this year, according to new analysis.

Channel 4 News FactCheck calculated the figure after studying data published by the office of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The Ulez was expanded on August 29 to cover the whole of Greater London.

The impact of the Ulez expansion will be transformative

A spokeswoman for the mayor

Drivers who enter the area in vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee.

Mr Khan has insisted the policy is a vital measure to improve air quality.

This is despite the mayor’s own impact assessment, published in 2022, predicting it will cause only a “minor reduction” of 1.3% in the average Londoner’s exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Channel 4 News FactCheck said: “TfL (Transport for London) and the mayor’s office stress that the absolute change in emissions is still greater in the outer London expansion compared to previous Ulez phases.

“Though the benefits are spread across a larger population, too.

“Using the mayor’s own data, we estimate that the outer London Ulez would add 13 minutes to the average Londoner’s life in 2023.”

It added: “The mayor’s office expects 214 “life years” will be saved in 2023 thanks to the expanded ULEZ that would otherwise have been lost to NO2 exposure. That’s not the same as saving 214 people from death – it’s the additional number of years that Londoners as a whole can expect to live as a result of the policy.

“We calculate that, spread across the city’s population of 8.8 million, expanding ULEZ to outer London could add just 0.0089 days – or 13 minutes – to the average Londoner’s life expectancy this year.”

Responding to this point, the mayor’s office noted that the same report says the expanded ULEZ “would continue to deliver air quality and health benefits for a number of years beyond 2023”, the study said.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said: “The science is clear – the impact of the Ulez expansion will be transformative.

“It will mean five million Londoners breathing cleaner air, and reduce toxic NOx (nitric oxide), CO2 (carbon dioxide), (particulate) emissions from vehicles.

“It is the largest clean air zone in the world.”