Half of Londoners back diesel ban


Over half of Londoners want diesel vehicles banned from central London in order to tackle air pollution, according to a survey carried out for environmental activists ClientEarth.

It said less than a third of Londoners would oppose such a policy.

The survey, carried out by YouGov, also indicated that more than two thirds of Londoners think higher polluting vehicles should pay more than other vehicles travelling through London.

ClientEarth said the findings will ‘heap pressure’ on the next London mayor to switch more quickly from diesel buses to cleaner electric and hybrid models used in electric mode.

A 'Boris Bus' and taxis on Westminster Bridge

But the survey also showed strong support for banning other diesel vehicles. While 55% back a ban on diesel buses in central London, 62% support a ban on diesel lorries.

Similarly, 54% said diesel taxis should be stopped from operating in the city centre, and 52% backed a ban on all diesel cars.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: ‘London’s air is toxic and illegal. We know that we need more ambitious policies if our polluted air is to be cleaned up and this survey shows the next mayor will have clear public backing if they introduce bold policies.

‘Londoners have had enough of dirty air and they want their mayor to get tough on the dirtiest vehicles. If the mayoral candidates are smart they will listen and show some courage. The time for excuses is over.’

Last month outgoing mayor Boris Johnson said his successor would have to consider increasing the congestion charge to tackle rising traffic levels.

But Mr Andrews said the current mayor had failed to clean up London’s buses and had ‘put his own Routemaster vanity project ahead of the health of Londoners’.

He added: ’There is no excuse for dirty diesel buses choking the capital. The technology is ready and the next mayor needs to make sure London has the cleanest buses available.’

ClientEarth launched a new legal challenge last month against over the government's approach to air pollution nationally.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide, to which diesel vehicles contribute significantly, frequently breach the EU air quality directive at many locations.

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