Low emissions zones: would Britons support similar schemes in their local area?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
August 17, 2021, 9:56 AM UTC

Younger Britons and more infrequent drivers are most in favour

Introduced in 2019, London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is a fee charged to the most polluting vehicles in the central part of the city. Now the ULEZ is set to expand to cover the entire area inside the North and South Circular roads by October 2021. Elsewhere in the country, Manchester has launched its version of the scheme called the “Clear Air Zone” in May, and Edinburgh City Council also has similar plans in the works – but would Brits support such schemes where they live?

Overall, Britons are split, with 42% supportive of a ULEZ-type scheme in their area, and 43% opposed. Young adults are more in favour: 18-24 year olds support by 48% to 30%, whereas the oldest Brits – those aged 55 and above are opposed by 48% to 40%.

Would drivers be in favour of a charge on polluting vehicles?

A ULEZ charge would of course only apply to those driving, but YouGov Profiles reveals that not all drivers feel the same way.

Overall, around half of drivers (51% of people who drive at least once a week) would oppose a ULEZ in their local area, including 31% who would “strongly” oppose the charge. However, just over a third of people driving at least once a week (37%) would support one.

Breaking this down further shows whether drivers live in urban or rural areas makes little difference to their opinion over a local ULEZ. Instead, it is the frequency of driving that brings out the differing opinions among motorists.

Opposition is strongest among those who drive every day, around half of whom (54%) would oppose a ULEZ in their local area. Opposition is similar among those using their cars five to six days a week (52%).

Elsewhere, those who drive less than once a week are split; two in five (45%) infrequent drivers would support a ULEZ in their area, compared to 41% who would be opposed. 

Support for a ULEZ is highest among non-drivers, rising to just shy of half (47%) in favour, with 22% strongly supporting such an idea. Some 29% of non-drivers would oppose a local ULEZ, although a similar proportion are also unsure (25%). 

Learn more about YouGov Profiles here

See full results here