Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen to contribute to his Air Quality Fund “in recognition of the negative impacts their diesel vehicles have on air quality and public health in London.”
Mr Khan has made reducing pollution levels in London’s air one of the key priorities for his mayoralty and, since coming to office last May, has announced plans to clean up the capital’s bus fleet and charge older polluting vehicles for driving in central London.
According to City Hall, road transport is responsible “for around half” of all NOx emissions in the capital with around 90 per cent of emissions caused by diesel vehicles.
Critics say the Mayor’s actions are undermined by his plans to build a new road runnel at Silvertown in East London which local campaigners argue will encourage more car journeys and increase pollution.
Today Mr Khan has written to the three carmakers urging them to help fund the clean-up, highlighting that the industry has already contributed £223 million in Germany in recognition of the pollution they cause.
He said: “Londoners will be baffled by the double standards of these car manufacturers.
“On the one hand, they admit they’ve got to cut emissions from their vehicles, but they confine their funding to Germany alone.
“This is ridiculous, as their vehicles are driven all over Europe, including on London’s roads.
“They must apply the same approach across all the markets that they trade in.
“In July, the UK managing director of VW sat in my office and said they couldn’t contribute anything to fund cleaning up London’s air, but their German colleagues are providing money.
“Londoners will find that unacceptable.”
Mr Khan has also written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling the government to secure “a meaningful amount” funding from vehicle manufacturers to “help people to scrap the most polluting diesel vehicles and take these off our streets.”