Hackney and Islington councils have unveiled plans to limit access to only ultra-low emission vehicles during morning and evening rush hours in two zones within the boroughs.
Launched for consultation last week, the proposals are a part of a ‘Low Emission Neighbourhood’ (LEN) project, with funding from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund, which is also being run alongside Tower Hamlets council.
The initiative, dubbed ‘City Fringe Ultra Low Emissions Streets’ will see two time-restricted pedestrian and cycle zones introduced in Shoreditch and Hoxton that will permit access only to ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) and permit holders during peak times.
Hackney council, which is carrying out a one-month consultation on the plans, anticipates that the scheme could come into effect as early as March 2018.
Proposals state that vehicles that are not classed as ultra-low emission would not be allowed to enter the streets during the peak commuter periods of 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm Monday to Friday.
Under the plans, ULEVs will be classed as vehicles that emit less than 75g/km C02, including all (100%) electric and hydrogen vehicles and some of the ‘cleanest’, least polluting, hybrid vehicles, according to the council.
Residents who live in, and businesses located in these zones will still be allowed to enter them free of charge during peak commuter periods as long as they have registered for an exemption, Hackney council has claimed.
Launching the consultation last week, Hackney council stated: “The council is committed to making Hackney’s roads safer for everyone living, working and visiting the Borough in its Transport Strategy. These changes are aimed at creating an environment that will encourage more walking and cycling, improve air quality and reduce emissions within the local area.
“The Strategy includes a Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan, which recognises that streets in areas like Shoreditch are not just places to park vehicles or drive, walk and cycle on. They are also the places where we socialise, shop and live our lives. An aspiration is to reclaim Hackney’s neighbourhoods from parked vehicles and motor traffic congestion and transform them into the most attractive and liveable neighbourhoods in London. This can only be achieved by reducing the dominance of the private vehicle.â€?
The restrictions will be enforced Monday to Friday via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras at each entrance from the hours of 7am- 10am and 4pm-7pm, and signage will be erected at all entrances to the two zones.
There will be no major physical changes to the area as part of these proposals, Hackney council has stated.
Any unregistered vehicle accessing these zones during the operating hours will be automatically issued a penalty notice, the council has warned. However, all vehicles that are already in the zones during the operational times will be able to exit the zones.
According to the local authority, research, including traffic counts, has indicated that a lot of the polluting traffic on local roads around the City Fringe are from delivery vehicles (approximately 50%). It is hoped that the project will support a shift to low emission deliveries.
Zero Emissions Network