London’s planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone could be expanded to cover the North and South Circular Roads and come into effect sooner than 2020 under proposals announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The zone was first announced in February 2013 and will require vehicles entering central London to emit zero or low emissions. Drivers of vehicles which don’t comply will receive a daily fine.
The expansion and possible earlier introduction are part of a package of measures announced by the mayor today which is set to be consulted on in the coming weeks.
Other proposals set out by Mr Khan today include introducing an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London, implementing clean bus corridors and asking Transport for London to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme.
London’s first mayor, Ken Livingstone, proposed a £25 charge on ‘gas guzzling’ vehicles in the run up to the 2008 mayoral election however these plans were dropped by his successor Boris Johnson following his election victory.
City Hall says the new charge will use the existing Congestion Charge payment and enforcement system to enable its introduction in 2017.
Mr Khan said: “The previous Mayor was too slow on this issue and the Government has been hopelessly inactive and it’s Londoners who are suffering as a result.
“We need to speed up our efforts so I’ll be launching a consultation before the summer to kick-start the process. As well as my proposals, I’ll be seeking views on other ways we can do more to clean up the city’s air.”
The new Mayor’s announcement has been welcomed by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, a long-time supporter of measures to improve air quality.
Ms Pidgeon commented: “Every year 10,000 Londoners face an early grave due to London’s appalling air pollution. That is 10,000 reasons why these measures to tackle air pollution are so desperately needed.
“I fully support the adoption of all the measures set out today. However, we must go even further and ensure London’s taxi fleet quickly converts to electric vehicles. This will only happen if TfL forces down the price of the electric taxis through bulk purchasing them and then selling or leasing them to taxi drivers and garages. A scrappage scheme and a network of rapid charging points are also desperately needed.”
Green Party AM Caroline Russell also welcomed today’s news but said “it’s essential that all outer London boroughs should also have the ability to opt in right from the beginning.”
She added: “There are a lot of heavily polluted main roads beyond the ring road where residents will want cleaner air.”