Plans to expand daily emission charges to Greater London could cause an exodus of carers willing to travel between Herts and the Capital, a carer has warned.

Under new proposals, drivers of vehicles that do not meet strict standards could face a daily charge of £12.50 to drive anywhere in Greater London.

The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) plan aims to take older, more polluting cars off the road, but many of the vehicles are driven by people already struggling financially.

Georgia Marie Hutchison, who has been a carer for four years, said: “The impact it has on carers is we get paid £11 an hour and will have to pay £12 for ULEZ. We are losing one hours pay just by entering the zone.

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"It’s going to become more of a loss to carers and with the bills going up, we will be left struggling.

Watford Observer:

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) could be expanded to cover the whole of London. Credit: PA

“People won’t want to do these calls. The cost of living has already made it harder to work more because of the tax we have to pay.”

Nationally, the social care sector is already struggling to fill vacancies. According to the council the shortage is particularly acute in Hertfordshire.

Georgia, 28, added: “I don’t see how putting these prices up are doing anything other than hurting people like carers that travel all over towns and cities to pay these fees, people will stop working as carers.

“There is a lack of carers as it is, and they won’t be able to maintain a good income.”

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the ULEZ charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide (NO2) it emits. For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are exempt.

Georgia said: “Those of us who have families with young children can’t afford a new car or even look at other affordable ways of monthly payments for a car.

“These are key workers we were relied on more during the COVID outbreak and everyone was doing extra shifts to provide the care that was needed.”