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World first Ultra Low Emission Zone proposed for London

Public consulted in extending ULEZ to Greater London and the North/South Circular roads

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Mayor of London getting tougher on air quality
Mayor of London getting tougher on air quality

Following a public consultation launched yesterday, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is proposing to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London from Monday 8th April 2019. This will replace the £10 T charge due to start in October this year, and covers the same area as the existing congestion charging zone.


Petrol vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards will have to pay a ULEZ daily fee (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes; £100 for buses, coaches and HGVs) to drive in the zone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Petrol cars more than 13 years old in 2019, and diesel cars more than 4 years old in 2019, will not meet the new standards. The total cost, with the congestion charge added (during the times of day it is applicable), for motorists with non-compliant cars will be £24 a day.


The ULEZ will apply to all vehicle types, except black taxis.


It is estimated that introducing ULEZ in central London will result in nearly a 50 per cent reduction in road transport NOx emissions in 2020.


Once the Mayor has finished consulting on the current ULEZ proposals in June, he wants to start consulting on actions that go even further. This would include expanding the ULEZ across a larger area, to cover nearly all of Greater London. This expanded zone would apply to heavy diesel vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries and it would be implemented in 2020.


Following that, the Mayor will be consulting Londoners on extending the ULEZ area applying to light vehicles, such as cars, vans, minibuses and motorcycles up to the North/South Circular roads, to be implemented in 2021.


According to the Mayoral office, these timescales will provide Londoners, motorists coming into the capital from elsewhere and affected businesses, sufficient time to take the necessary steps to prepare for these new standards.


They also reflect the minimum amount of time needed for TfL to consult on and implement such technically complex schemes over such large parts of London.


Announcing these proposals yesterday the Mayor said: “The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing. Today I’m announcing bold proposals which are critically needed to safeguard Londoners from our air quality health crisis.


“I am introducing a new T-Charge this October and subject to consultation, I want to introduce the Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London in April 2019. This alone will mean the capital has the toughest emission standard of any world city.


“But the scale of our air quality challenge is so big that I need to go further. I want to expand the ULEZ from 2020 for heavy vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries so that all of London will benefit from cleaner air. Then from 2021, I want to expand it up to the North and South Circular roads for light vehicles, including cars and vans. These measures will help improve the air that millions of Londoners breathe.


“I want to announce my intention to consult on these proposals in good time so that business and those affected by new charges will have time to make changes they need to adapt to our low emission requirements.


“Now I urge the Government to step up and match my ambition to transform the appalling air we breathe. Ministers need to deliver a national vehicle scrappage fund, reform fiscal incentives like vehicle excise duty and pass a powerful new Clean Air Act to Act end the toxic smog in London once and for all.”


The Mayor is working with TfL to ensure London’s public transport fleets lead the way in low emission technology. TfL will no longer procure double deck pure diesel buses from 2018 and instead only buy hybrid, electric or hydrogen buses. All new taxis will need to be zero emission capable from next year and new private hire vehicles will need to follow suit from 2020.


Cllr Julian Bell, London Councils’ executive member for transport and environment, said: “London Councils supports measures to continue to address poor air quality in the capital, which we know is a major concern for many Londoners, and welcomes the Mayor’s pledge to listen to the consultation responses received. It is vital for national, regional and local governments to work together, alongside our residents, to help clean up our city’s filthy air and improve health and quality of life.”


Jonathan Grigg, professor of Paediatric and Environmental Medicine, Queen Mary University of London said: “The Mayor of London is to be congratulated in bringing forward the date of the ULEZ. Reducing diesel emissions in the congestion charge zone will reduce exposure to toxic soot particles and gases. To maximise the effectiveness of this initiative, the Government must now act to remove the current toxic fleet of diesel cars, vans and buses from all our roads.”



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