A London Assembly member has criticised the Mayor of London’s air quality proposals, claiming that ‘more targeted’ measures would address the problem with a ‘less severe’ impact on Londoners.
Conservative Assembly member Shaun Bailey made the comments in his report ‘Clearing the Air’ published today (4 September) which looks at air pollution in the capital.
The report comes in response to measures set out by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to reduce air pollution in London, which includes the introduction of an emissions surcharge from October 2017 and an Ultra-Low Emission Zone which will be brought in by 2019.
In his report, Mr Bailey has put forward a series of recommendations which he claims will be ‘more cost effective’ in tackling air pollution.
This includes scrapping the £10 ‘T-charge’, which he claims will place an unnecessary burden on poorer drivers and small businesses – and which he claims will produce a ‘negligible’ improvement in air quality.
He adds that the central London ULEZ should be pushed back to 2020 in order to give businesses and emergency services more time to adapt their fleets, in line with an original timeline set out by the previous Mayor. Plans to expand the ULEZ to the North and South Circulars should also be scrapped, he argued, as Central London is the “key pollution hotspotâ€? where most air pollution occurs.
Instead he has called for greater investment in electric vehicle charging points – warning that a shortage of charging outlets for vehicles could lead to ‘charge-rage’ if it does not keep pace with demand.
Last month, the Mayor announced funding worth up to £4.5 million for 1,500 new electric vehicle charging points (see airqualitynews.com story), however, ‘Clearing the Air’ suggests that an investment of £30 million in around 1,579 rapid charging points would be more effective.
Mr Bailey added that the installation of charging points in the UK is occurring at an unsatisfactorily slow rate compared with the uptake of electric vehicles.
He said: “If London is going to fully support the adoption of electric vehicles we need adequate charging infrastructure on our roads.
“This report found London is not preparing to provide the right number and quality of charging points to meet predicted demand and on current levels drivers could be left squabbling over sockets.
“The adoption of electric vehicles would go a long way to improving London’s air quality. In contrast, the Mayor’s plans to expand the ULEZ will have a negligible impact on emissions.
“That is why I’m urging the Mayor to abandon those plans and instead invest some of the money in improved electric charging infrastructure.â€?
Elsewhere in the report Mr Bailey advocates a more active role from City Hall in promoting freight consolidation schemes, a TfL-led anti-idling campaign, and investment in more hybrid and hydrogen buses for use on London’s streets.
Clearing the Air – Report