The City of London’s proposed ‘low emission street’ is likely to be postponed for up to six months after a public consultation revealed strong concerns about the scheme.
The 12-month pilot scheme, which planned to restrict access to the southern section of Moor Lane to strictly ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) starting this April, is a successor project to the City’s Low Emission Neighborhood (LEN) which was introduced in 2016.
In a report published by the corporation, several concerns about the scheme were noted such as confusion with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which is also set to be enforced this April.
The corporation’s air quality manager has now recommended that the scheme’s introduction be delayed until this autumn to reflect the concerns received.
‘The main advantage [of delaying the scheme] would be to avoid confusion with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone being introduced in April 2019,’ wrote Ruth Calderwood, the City of London’s Air Quality Manager in the report.
‘It would also allow for a longer time period to publicise the scheme and additional time for drivers to move over to ULEVs.’
A consultation about the scheme was held last November with 682 people responding via an online survey and many others responding by other means.
The City of London found that most people who replied to the consultation were negative about the proposed scheme, as many responses thought the scheme would discriminate against the taxi trade and other drivers in the area.
Other concerns outlined in the consultation included increased congestion and air pollution on surrounding roads, a lack of EV charging spaces, and insufficient funds and support to buy ULEVs, which are significantly cleaner than vehicles that meet the standards associated with Khan’s ULEZ.
The consultation found that most people who responded preferred the option of applying the pilot from Monday to Friday from 7am-11pm, as opposed to 24/7.
The City of London said that it considered several options in response to the consultation, including postponing the pilot for a longer period to assess the market for ULEV availability and allow more electric charge points to be installed.
However, the corporation found that a further delay would limit available funding from the Low Emission Neighborhood project, leading them to limit the postponement to six months.
‘The advantage of [a longer delay] would be to avoid confusion with the ULEZ and allow additional time for drivers to source vehicles that meet the ULEV criteria,’ the report read.
‘The main disadvantage is that the funding from the Low Emission Neighbourhood project would not be available to purchase and install enforcement cameras. The funding would have to be found elsewhere.’
The ULEV pilot will now be postponed for up to six months with arrangements made to prepare for its introduction by this October.
Proposals for further ‘Zero Emission Zones’ are under consideration as part of the corporation’s Transport Strategy, which is set to be finalised this spring.