London Assembly members call for Mayor to implement ultra-low emission zone sooner than 2020 to tackle air pollution
London Assembly members have urged Mayor Boris Johnson to consider bringing in an ultra-low emission zone in central London sooner than the current planned date of 2020.
In a letter sent to the Mayor today (July 30), Assembly members outlined their support for the measure, but called for it to apply to all vehicles on the road rather than just new vehicles.
Plans for an ultra-low emission zone were first announced by the Mayor as part of a raft of air quality measures in February 2013 (see AirQualityNews.com story). The zone was originally expected to be based on the current congestion charge map and see only zero or low emission vehicles driving in central London during working hours.
However, today’s letter comes after a meeting of the London Assembly’s environment committee last month, at which the Mayor’s environment advisor Matthew Pencharz defended the length of time being taken to implement the planned zone (see AirQualityNews.com story).
It also follows comments from Mr Johnson at Mayor’s question time on July 17, in which he suggested that the zone would only apply to new vehicles from its implementation date and would not apply to vehicles already on the road.
Transport for London (TfL) is set to consult later in 2013 on options for the zone and Assembly members are urging the Mayor not to rule out including all vehicles from the consultation.
Furthermore, members are calling for enhanced modelling of likely effects of the zone to be carried out, highlighting the estimated 4,000 premature deaths from air pollution in London each year.
The letter states that Londoners ‘cannot be expected to wait until 2020 for action to be taken’ and asks for a reply by Friday August 30.
London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, chair of the environment committee, said: “With thousands of Londoners dying prematurely each year because of air pollution, action is needed to clean up the capital. The Ultra-Low Emission Zone may be an effective tool to improve air quality, but only if it is strong enough to make a difference.
“We urge the Mayor and his team to see if action can be taken sooner to protect Londoners from harmful effects of air pollution and look carefully at the most effective options, including creating a zone that applies to all vehicles.â€?