Preliminary analysis of traffic entering central London during the first month of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone’s operation suggests that almost three quarters of vehicles complied with the new clean air standards.
The 24 hour, 365 day a year ULEZ scheme launched on April 8th and requires drivers to pay a daily charge unless their vehicles meet Euro 4 emission standards for petrol vehicles or Euro 6 for diesel vehicles.
City Hall and Transport for London say 74 per cent of vehicles entering the ULEZ area were compliant, falling slightly to 71% when measuring just those vehicles seen during the 7am – 6pm hours of the congestion charge zone which covers the same geographical area as the ULEZ.
Both numbers are significantly higher than the 39 per cent of ULEZ compliant vehicles which entered central London in February 2017 and the 61 per cent seen in March 2019. Numbers for the pre-ULEZ period are derived from congestion charge zone data.
TfL says it’s controlled for “non-typical days” such as recent climate change protests and other events which will have disrupted traffic levels in central London.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Just one month after launching the world’s first ULEZ, leading the way for cities around the globe, we have already seen a significant impact on the types of vehicles driving in the centre of our capital and polluting our air.
“These were big changes, and vital ones – our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation.
“It’s early days, but it’s great to see Londoners and businesses are doing their bit to make a difference, with nearly three quarters of the vehicles driving into central London each day now meeting the standards required to turn around this public health crisis.
“It’s vital this compliance is sustained to truly make a difference to our air quality, and as time goes on we will publish more research into the impact of the ULEZ, progressing this ground-breaking, life-saving work even further.”
Alex Williams, Transport for London’s Director of City Planning, added: “Everyone benefits from clean air, which is why it is great to see that so many people have responded to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which has resulted in a reduction in the number of polluting vehicles in the capital.
“The ULEZ will nearly halve road-based NOx emissions in central London, and in addition to our work to green up the bus fleet and encourage the taxi industry to switch to cleaner vehicles, together we will help to tackle this public health crisis.”