The recently appointed Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled new clean air proposals which start 12 months earlier than expected and which include a £10 a day ‘toxicity charge’ for the most polluting vehicles on top of the current congestion charge.
As we reported when he first took office in May, the new Mayor proposed a set of new clean air standards to improve London’s air.
However, two months on, and he has confirmed more details of his proposals and moved his agenda forward 12 months with a series of measures described as ‘the toughest emissions standards of any major city in the world.’
The Clear Air Action Plan includes a £10 emissions surcharge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from just next year.
The charge would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emission standards, which broadly speaking covers all those registered before 2005.
A new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) would stretch from the north to south circular roads rather than the much smaller congestion charge zone in central London from 2020.
This would more than double the size of the existing zone and is intended to force drivers to use cleaner vehicles or alternative transport to reduce the levels of harmful pollution, such as nitrogen dioxide (NOx), that the capital currently faces,
The Mayor’s office also wants to look at switching procurement of its own bus fleet to hybrid/zero-emission vehicles by 2019, instead of 2020.
And the plans also include developing a detailed proposal for a national diesel scrappage scheme for Government to implement
The Mayor said that, with nearly 10,000 people dying early every year in London due to exposure to air pollution, cleaning up the capital’s toxic air was now an issue of life and death.
He said that on the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1956, Londoners faced another pollution public health emergency that required immediate action.
Tough challenges called for tough measures, hence the need for a new £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles in central London from next year, followed by an even stronger crackdown within three years.
He also called on the Government to work with him and to take more action to tackle air pollution, including passing new legislation fit for the 21st century. This included the provision of new powers and legal protections to ensure that the existing legal limits for air pollutants were retained following Brexit.
Khan’s plans will now be subject to a public consultation, a process which should conclude by the end of July. Further, more detailed consultation will take place later this year and some measures could be implemented as early as 2017.
Clean Air Action Plan at a glance:
- Implementing a £10 emissions surcharge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from 2017. The charge would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emission standards, typically those registered before 2005, and will cost an extra £10 per day on top of the existing congestion charge.
- Introducing the central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone one year earlier in 2019
- Extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone beyond central London from 2020: for motorcycles, cars and vans, to the North and South Circular roads; and for lorries, buses and coaches London-wide
- Developing a detailed proposal for a national diesel scrappage scheme for Government to implement
- Bringing forward the requirement for all double–decker buses to be ULEZ-compliant in central London from 2020 to 2019.
The move to cleaner air quality has been echoed by other major towns and cities, with five – Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Derby and Nottingham – being given charging powers to tackle pollution.
Meanwhile, in Milton Keynes, drivers of electric cars can park can now park for free in 15,000 parking spaces across the city with a new green parking permit.
The scheme was launched earlier this month by Transport Minister Andrew Jones, and is the first initiative to be delivered as part of the government’s Go Ultra Low Cities scheme.
Milton Keynes is one of several Go Ultra Low Cities across the UK planning to boost the uptake of electric vehicles, through launching benefits for existing EV drivers and increasing the motivation for petrol or diesel motorists to switch.
Other cities awarded a share of the £40 million made available by government include Bristol, London and Nottingham.