Hackney and Islington councils are to forge ahead with plans to ban petrol, diesel and older hybrid vehicles from streets in two zones in Shoreditch and Bunhill from July 2018.
The initiative, dubbed ‘City Fringe Ultra Low Emissions Streets’ will see two time-restricted pedestrian and cycle zones introduced that will permit access only to ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) and permit holders during peak times.
Launched for consultation last month, 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.
According to Hackney council, the scheme was supported by 70% of people living within 10km of the area when it was proposed, and 56% of respondents to the recent consultation were in favour.
Commenting on the initiative, Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, said: “The streets around Shoreditch suffer from some of the worst air quality in London – ultra-low emission streets will have reduced levels of air and noise pollution, make it easier and safer to walk and cycle and improve the character of the area for all residents and businesses.
“To start with we’re banning petrol and diesel vehicles in the morning and evening rush hours to reduce people’s exposure to dangerous fumes and make the streets safer when people are walking and cycling to and from work and school. Our ultimate goal is to reclaim the streets from polluting motor vehicles – this ground-breaking scheme is the first step towards doing that.”
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, added: “Air pollution is a huge issue for Islington residents living, working and learning in the City Fringe, and we are proud to be leading from the front with Hackney in this pioneering scheme – the first of its kind in the UK.
“This is big news for students and staff at Central Foundation Boys School – the most polluted state secondary in London – and the positive public feedback shows we are right to keep pushing for new ways to improve air quality and prevent polluting vehicles from damaging people’s health. I look forward to the results.”
Proposals for the scheme 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.
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.
Ultra-Low Emission Streets project