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London Councils supports clean air zone but calls for more to be done

  • By London Councils

By the end of decade drivers of highly-polluting vehicles will have to clean up or pay up under a new scheme being proposed by TfL, but councils are calling for more ambitious targets for making London’s air cleaner.

Ongoing reductions are needed – especially in PM2.5 – to further protect human health. In addition, London does not currently meet the EU legal limit for NO2 and London Councils believes regional and national government should do more to encourage a shift away from diesel vehicles, which are the main contributors of this kind of pollution.

In 2010 the equivalent of 3,389 deaths in over 25-year-olds London were attributed to long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – equivalent to one in 12 of all deaths.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scheme would require all vehicles driving in central London to meet new exhaust emission standards by 2020 or pay a daily charge.

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC), said: “We welcome the principle of the ULEZ but we would like to see TfL go further and take greater strides in making London’s air cleaner.

“In particular, we believe any surplus from ULEZ charging should be ring-fenced for investment in improving air quality in London, such as electric buses, electric charging points and sustainable surface transport.

“We are also encouraging TfL to use its pan-London licensing position to require mini-cabs across London to meet the ULEZ standard, not just those operating in central London.

“On top of the challenges we face, London local authorities are still at threat from heavy EU fines for breaching air quality limits and we believe they should not be passed onto boroughs by central government.”

In the consultation response, London Councils also suggested a scrappage scheme allowing owners of vehicles not meeting ULEZ standards to upgrade to newer, cleaner models while taking the most polluting vehicles off the roads.

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Notes to editor:

-       To read London Councils’ response to the ULEZ consultation, visit: http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/environment/air/ulezconsultation.htm
-       London Councils – which represents the 32 London boroughs and the City of London – submitted a response to the formal consultation on the proposed ULEZ.
-       While boroughs support the plans they are urging TfL to be more ambitious in its targets to improve air quality in London.
-       More details of TfL’s consultation can be found here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/ultra-low-emission-zone.