Mayor also says higher diesel parking permit charges in Islington and Hackney should not be levied against Euro 6 standard vehicles
Implementing a blanket ban on diesel vehicles in the UK capital would be “foolishâ€?, according to the London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Speaking to airqualitynews.com at the launch of London’s Breathe Better Together air pollution public awareness campaign on Friday (January 30 – see airqualitynews.com story), Mr Johnson said that newer diesel engines now being developed could be “very good, clean technologyâ€?.
There are growing fears over the air quality impact of diesel emissions, with the Mayor of Paris recently announcing plans to ban diesel vehicles from the French capital entirely by 2020, while in London, Islington and Hackney councils are introducing higher parking permit charges for diesel vehicles (see airqualitynews.com story).
Earlier this week, Labour’s shadow environment minister Barry Gardiner also told Channel 4’s Dispatches TV programme that is was the “wrong decisionâ€? to incentivise the purchase of diesel vehicles under the previous Labour government.
However, the Mayor told airqualitynews.com: “We think that the Euro 6 Diesel engines could well be compliant, so there is not going to be any sort of ban in London.â€?
He added: “I think there is evidence starting to appear that you can have very clean diesel engines. As it happens, we have got very promising diesel engines being made here in London – in Dagenham. It would be foolish to have a blanket ban on what could be very good, clean technology.â€?
Under plans for the 2020 Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, only diesel vehicles meeting Euro 6 standard for emissions will be compliant, and the Mayor’s environment advisor Matthew Pencharz told airqualitynews.com that “the whole idea is to drive people to cleaner carsâ€?.
He added: “For some people Euro 6 may be right for them. Obviously we would prefer electric, but we have to be realistic with what people’s lifestyles are.â€?
Mr Pencharz also voiced support for parking permit charges in Islington and Hackney, but said that the charges should not be levied against Euro 6 standard diesel vehicles.
He said: “We support boroughs doing local measures as long as they are reasonable and affordable. What I would say about what the boroughs are doing, is that we don’t think that Euro 6 should be subject to this charge.â€?
However, the Mayor and his Breathe Better Together campaign came in for criticism last week from London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, who suggested that the awareness campaign launch was “over a year later than promised and amounts to one phrase on repeat – ‘hold your breath!’â€?
The Labour AM environment spokesman said: “Whilst this is a step forward making Londoners able to be better informed about when smog incidents occur, it’s frankly hypocritical for the Mayor to launch a campaign telling Londoners to avoid polluted streets whilst simultaneously watering down measures to tackle the problem in his own Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.
“It’s a last and desperate plea to cover up for seven years of dithering and inaction and shows that this Mayor really has run out of ideas for tackling the capital’s silent killer.â€?