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Mayor launches second phase of air quality plan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today (10 October) launched the second phase of his air quality consultation – including detailed plans of a £10 emissions surcharge for older polluting vehicles in the capital from 2017.

And, Mr Khan also confirmed his commitment to deliver an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London in 2019, a year earlier than initially scheduled.

Sadiq Khan speaking to pupils at St Saviour's and St Olave's School in Southwark about air quality

Sadiq Khan speaking to pupils at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark about air quality

The proposals – launched at Southwark’s St Savour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark this morning – are part of the Mayor’s second air quality consultation led by Transport for London. This follows an initial survey conducted in July on how to improve air quality in the city which attracted 15,000 responses (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Among the proposals is an emissions surcharge – or ‘T-charge’ – which would apply to older polluting vehicles driving into the Congestion Charge zone from October 2017 and cost £10 per day.

The charge, which would operate at the same times and in addition to the existing Congestion Charge, will apply to vehicles that do not meet the Euro 4/IV emissions standards for NOx and PM emissions. This will generally affect vehicles registered up to and including 2005.

The consultation will also give Londoners a say on the preferred date for the start of an expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone – which is up to the North South circular for cars, motorcycles and vans, and in central London for buses, coaches and lorries. Options include as early as 2019 to 2021 or later.

Depending on feedback, the Mayor will ask TfL to develop these potential options into detailed statutory proposals for consultation next year.

Schools

The Mayor launched the second phase of the consultation this morning at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark off the New Kent Road, which is described as one of the busiest traffic hot spots in the capital.

The school’s head teacher Catherine May wrote to the Mayor earlier this summer to highlight her concerns about pupils being exposed to high levels of air pollution from traffic.

Taking part in a specially prepared science class, the Mayor answered questions from pupils on a range of issues – including why smoking in public places is allowed and the type of car he owns – before explaining why it was important to combat air pollution around schools.

City Hall research estimates that people living in London’s most deprived communities are on average exposed to 25% higher levels of NO2 pollution – while 448 schools are located in areas exceeding legal air quality levels.

‘Toxic’

Mr Khan said: “Toxic air in London is a health emergency that requires bold action, including introducing charges for older polluting vehicles and expanding the ULEZ. I am determined to help every Londoner breathe cleaner air.  After the massive response to my first consultation I now need the public to let me know their views on my detailed proposals to help clean-up our filthy air.“

Buses

Sadiq Khan has also outlined his plans for 'hybrid' double decker buses

Sadiq Khan has also outlined his plans for ‘hybrid’ double decker buses

To further support the ULEZ, TfL is to ensure all double decker buses operating in the ULEZ will be hybrid and all single decker buses will be fully electric or hydrogen.

Mr Khan told airqualitynews.com: “In November I’m having a conference of bus manufacturers, and I’ll be saying if you have clean buses not only will I be a customer but potentially Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Delhi [will be].”

Alex Williams, TfL’s managing director of Planning, added: “The Mayor has asked us to set out in detail and seek views on a range of proposals that will have a significant impact in reducing pollution in the capital.  We think these ambitious proposals show London is taking the lead globally in tackling one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.  I would urge as many people as possible to respond to the consultation to help us shape our plans.”

The consultation closes on 18 December 2016.  A further final consultation will take place in early 2017, which will take into account the views from this consultation and propose statutory changes to the ULEZ.

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