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Air Quality

Published on July 7th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


London Mayor Sadiq Khan Announces Toughest Crackdown On Air Pollution Yet

July 7th, 2016 by  

London Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled the toughest plans yet to tackle the most polluting vehicles in his city, proposing a £10 Emissions Surcharge.

Announced on Tuesday, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled plans to crack down on the most polluting vehicles, the toughest plan yet announced by any major city in the world. Specifically, Khan has proposed the introduction of a £10 Emissions Surcharge and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

Sadiq Khan-2“With nearly 10,000 people dying early every year in London due to exposure to air pollution, cleaning up London’s toxic air is now an issue of life and death,” said Sadiq Khan.

“It is the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1956, which was passed following the great London smogs of the 1950s. The legislation made a huge difference to life in London and saved countless lives. British politicians at the time did an amazing thing and responded on the scale that was required. Today we face another pollution public health emergency in London and now it’s our turn to act for the good of Londoners and for future generations to come.”

“That’s why I’m launching a hard-hitting plan of action to clean up our filthy air. Tough challenges call for tough measures, so I’m proposing a new £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles in central London from 2017, followed by an even stronger crackdown on vehicles pumping out hazardous pollutants.”

The £10 charge, dubbed the T-charge, would be enacted on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from 2017 onwards, and would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emissions standards (which equates, broadly speaking, to cars registered before 2005), and will cost an extra £10 per day on top of the existing Congestion Charge.

Further proposals include not only extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone beyond central London from 2020 (for motorcycles, cars and vans, to the North and South Circular, and for lorries, buses and coaches London-wide), but also introducing the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone one year earlier, forward to 2019. Additionally, Khan proposed developing a detailed proposal for a national diesel scrappage scheme for the UK Government to implement, bringing the requirement for all double-deck buses to be ULEZ-compliant in central London forward to 2019, and implementing clean bus corridors by moving clean buses to the dirtiest bus routes.

Sadiq Khan-1“The Mayor’s drive to clean up the capital’s air is fantastic news for our patients and staff,” said Dr Peter Steer, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH), who recently met with Mayor Khan and informed him of the devastating toll London’s air quality is having on his patients.

“Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood, yet improving air quality has been shown to halt and reverse this effect. When the UK’s most seriously ill children come to GOSH for our world class care, we want to ensure that they are not exposed to high levels of harmful pollution and so we are pleased improving London’s air quality is a priority for the Mayor.”

Image Credits: Mayor’s Press Office & AirQualityNews.com

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  • Najeeb Ullah

    Very far sighted policy shift. It will sure bolster the sale of clean vehicle in one of the biggest metro regions of the world.

  • josetony

    How about charging the automakers for each ICE vehicle they make? And then refunding the charges for each EV they make. They are the ones that are polluting the environment with the cars they make.

    • egriff5514

      EU rules on emissions now apply across an entire manufacturers ‘fleet’ – so your BMWs and Porsches have to produce EVs too, so they can keep producing the cars with the powerful engines

      • Are Hansen

        But then, the UK can now do much as they please in their politics, with more differential taxes on polluting cars, and generous discounts for those choosing an EV – without the EU crying “unfair competition!”, “state intervention!”,…
        Actually, it doesn’t have to cost the public funds anything. It worked in Norway, and the policies have all the way been that the tax income to the state for car sales should not go down. So the taxes on so and so much CO2/km where increased as the share of EVs went up.Even poor countries could do similar

  • Martin Lacey

    This is another policy decision which hits the poorest motorists the hardest. It will lead to premature vehicle scrappage (which has a double environmental impact in dismantling and new vehicle manufacture) which will bolster the second hand market, pricing some low income earners off the road and limit their social mobility, thereby holding them in a low income spiral.

    Yes it will reduce pollution (a bit) but mostly it will raise revenue, which wouldn’t be a bad idea if the money was reinvested in improving the road network or pay for BEV charging installations or public transport subsidies. But the money will disappear into government coffers.

    • JamesWimberley

      The vast majority of Londoners and commuters into London already use public transport. Car drivers are a small and disproportionately wealthy minority. I take your comment as concern trolling. A great deal of the impact will not be on private car owners at all but businesses operating delivery vans and trucks.

      This is good policy, and a bit surprising since Khan’s mayoral campaign was rather wishy-washy on air pollution.

      • egriff5514

        also driving in London is epically scary.. the few times I’ve had to do it, even on a Sunday… brrrr!

  • Mike

    I hope all big city mayors follow this lead. All the extra health care costs attached to burning carbon fuels must be brought to attention across the general public.

    • Martin Lacey

      Mike – it is not intended to encourage BEV ownership, just to price older vehicles off the roads. If a car has five or six years life in it, you have to question the logic that prices ownership of it out of peoples hands.

      The cost to the environment in dismantling, recycling and land fill, plus the manufacture of another ICE vehicle to replace it is illogical. Yes, 99% of all new cars on British roads are ICE…. which prolongs the pollution of the environment.

      • Mike

        Good observation. Perhaps only EVS should be allowed in the city centers.

        Anecdotally, the cost of a used ev here in Ontario is very low, perhaps there is the same phenomenon in the UK.

      • RobertM

        They are going up from £11.50 a Day (£10 if you sign up for their volume discount program) to £21.50 / £20 a day. If you have to go into that area daily for work that is £100 a week and even if we give them a month off work for vacation you are still talking about £4800 a year or around US$6,200 a year. Unless you have a vehicle that meets their Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) standard then it only costs you around £10 a year. Buying even a Tesla Model X starts looking pretty cheap under those kind of taxes.

        • Martin Lacey

          You’ve missed my point entirely. The folks driving older cars can’t afford new ones and certainly not ULEV’s.

  • Harry Johnson

    “cars registered before 2005”
    What about defeat device VW diesel vehicles registered after 2005?

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