London mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a second consultation on plans to tackle toxic air pollution, including implementing the Central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) a year ahead of schedule and a ‘T charge’ for older polluting vehicles.
The new consultation follows an initial round last summer, which attracted a record 15,000 responses.
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The proposals include delivering the Central London ULEZ in 2019, a year earlier than proposed by former mayor Boris Johnson, extending it to the North and South Circular roads in 2019 or later and introducing the ‘T charge’ in October 2017.
The mayor’s office said new research showed that people living in London’s most deprived communities, often by busy roads, are on average exposed to 25% higher levels of harmful NO2 pollution.
Mr Khan said: ‘Toxic air in London is a health emergency that requires bold action, including introducing charges for older polluting vehicles and expanding the ULEZ. I am determined to help every Londoner breathe cleaner air. After the massive response to my first consultation I now need the public to let me know their views on my detailed proposals to help clean-up our filthy air.’
The consultation will invite London residents to state their preferred date for the start of the expanded ULEZ. Options include 2019 to 2021 or later.
The mayor’s office said that, depending on feedback, he will ask TfL to develop these options into detailed statutory proposals for consultation next year.
The proposed £10 per day Emissions Surcharge (T-charge) would apply to vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4/IV emissions standard for NOx and PM emissions driving into the Congestion Charge zone and would be in addition to the Congestion Charge. Pre-Euro 4 vehicles are generally those registered up to and including 2005.
Mr Khan has also called on ministers to put in place a national diesel scrappage scheme to help people replace vehicles affected by the proposals and wants fiscal incentives, such as reform of vehicle excise duty, to encourage people to use the cleanest vehicles.
TfL will ensure that all double decker buses operating in the ULEZ will be hybrid and all single decker buses will be fully electric or hydrogen.
The Freight Transport Association has reacted with disappointment to the announcement having previously warned that the ULEZ was only ‘do-able’ if the central London area and the 2020 deadline for HGVs stayed the same, and stated that if either were to be altered due to a change of mayor, it would cause serious difficulties for businesses.