New research has revealed the popularity of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) in different London boroughs as the UK’s capital awaits the introduction of its Ultra Low-Emissions Zone (ULEZ) next month.
Research by the financial services comparison website GoCompare found that seven London boroughs are leading the way among local authorities in taking up green vehicles, falling in the UK’s top 20 for their proportion of ULEVs.
Meanwhile, eight London boroughs are clearly behind the rest as they were found to rank outside of the UK’s top 100.
The research looked at Department for Transport figures in three areas – total number of ULEVs, proportion of ULEVs by 10,000 vehicles and three-year growth rate in ULEVs.
Westminister was one of the highest performing boroughs, boasting the highest number of ULEVs overall – 1,843 – and the second highest proportion of ULEVs behind the City of London.
Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington and Merton were the other London boroughs that fell in the UK top 20 for proportion of ULEVs.
Merton has had particularly strong growth in ULEV take-up, with the south-west London borough reporting an 11% increase between 2015 and 2018, while nine London boroughs ranked in the UK top 20 for growth in ULEV registrations during that period.
However, the data suggested inequality between parts in London with seven of the eight London boroughs with the lowest proportion of ULEVs all located in Outer London.
The figures shine a light on progress towards the government’s Road to Zero Strategy which aims for at least 50% of new cars sold to be ULEVs by 2030, along with 40% of new vans.
London is trying to encourage ULEV take-up with measures such as its new ULEZ and Hackney’s ultra-low-emission street, with the City of London set to introduce its own at Moor Lane this October.
Freight experts and drivers continue to be sceptical of the ULEZ, saying it will not achieve the long-term improvements in ULEV take-up it is intended to.
Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association said: ‘Although emissions levels in Euro VI HGVs are a big improvement on Euro V, the benefits from the ULEZ will be short-term.
‘The scheme just speeds up vehicle replacement. It’s not a long-term solution, as the benefits will level out when the natural vehicle replacement cycle catches up.’
Proponents of the ULEZ have praised the fact that it will target drivers of the heaviest polluting vehicles, charging them up to £100 a day.
A spokesperson for the Energy Saving Trust said that the ULEZ’s introduction will play a key part in improving air quality and health outcomes in London.
‘Independent research has repeatedly demonstrated that the charging zones are an effective way to reduce air pollution to within legal limits quickly, benefiting everyone’s health,’ they said.