Proposals to extend the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South circular roads have been backed by Kensington and Chelsea council.
Plans put forward by the Mayor of London would see petrol-powered cars, vans and motorbikes that don’t meet the Euro 4 standard and diesel vehicles that fall short of the Euro 6 emissions standard, charged around £12.50 per day to drive within the zone.
For buses, coaches, larger lorries or smaller but older vans, the cost would range from £100 to £300.
The plans were formally outlined in November – with a consultation on the proposals running until the end of this month (February).
Kensington and Chelsea is one of the first London councils to formally support the proposals to expand the ULEZ after the council’s Leadership Team agreed to support the Mayor’s proposals at a meeting this month.
Commenting on the proposals, Cllr Gerard Hargreaves, Lead Member for Transport, said: “Kensington and Chelsea residents experience unacceptably high levels of pollution and 55% of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide in the borough comes from road transport.
“So it’s only right that we take the lead in tackling emissions by being one of the first boroughs to officially support the proposal to extend the ULEZ.
“At the moment 90% of our schools are in locations that exceed legal limits and we will support any action that improves air quality and are confident that our residents support this.â€?
Other London local authorities, including the borough of Wandsworth have highlighted the potential impact that the proposals could have on residents living close to the edge of the ULEZ. The authority claims that the plans would ‘cut the borough in half’.
The council’s environment and transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “It’s important that people take part in this consultation and make sure their voices are heard as these proposals could have quite far reaching consequences for local residents and businesses.
“We are broadly supportive of expanding the ULEZ zone as it is clear that London’s air quality needs to improve which is why we ourselves have done so much to help address this issue locally, with a wide range of local initiatives.
“However we are concerned about how local communities living close to the ULEZ border will be affected and we need to see concrete ideas from the Mayor on how their interests will be protected.â€?
Critics of the ULEZ proposal have accused the Mayor of using the ULEZ as a “money making schemeâ€? unfairly targeting motorists.
Among them is the Alliance of British Motorists, which describes itself as “a voluntary organisation promoting the interests and concerns of Britain’s driversâ€?.
In a statement the organisation, said: “The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has said before that we are suspicious about the reasons given for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London. The proposed measures, particularly the extension to within the North/South Circular, seemed disproportionate to the likely benefits from reductions in air pollution.â€?
The organisation has claimed that income generated from the ULEZ will total more than £300 million per year.
The Mayor has today announced that an additional £11.6m will be available in this year’s budget to give to councils to fund improvements to their streets and local neighbourhoods.
The money, which will be allocated between London’s 33 boroughs using the existing fair formula for funding, is to support transport projects in the capital. It will be used in areas like reducing road danger, transforming local environments, encouraging cycling and walking, accessibility and improving air quality.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Over the course of the next five years, we’ve committed an unprecedented £1bn for boroughs to improve local neighbourhoods across London – with a focus on schemes that encourage walking and cycling, making our high streets cleaner and more enjoyable places to spend time.â€?