London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has seen nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution cut by a third in the capital since its introduction in April 2019.
City Hall has published a report on the first six months of the zone, which shows it’s delivering some promising outcomes in cutting air pollution.
Quarterly averages reveal that levels of NO2 on roadside monitors have fallen from 89 µg/m3 in January to March 2017 to 57 µg/m3 in July to September 2019, a reduction of 36%.
According to the report, there are now 13,500 fewer polluting cars being driven into central London every day, with 77% of all vehicles now in the zone meeting ULEZ emissions standards.
This is higher than the 39% seen in February 2017 and the 61% in March 2019.
There was also a reduction in traffic flows in central London in May and September 2019 of between 3% and 9% when compared to 2018, which City Hall says indicates the wider benefits of the ULEZ in encouraging people to switch to walking, cycling or using public transport.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has reduced only slightly, with the report saying that over 50% of London’s PM2.5 emissions blow into the capital from outside sources. Earlier this month, Sadiq Khan joined over 30 other mayors from around the world to commit to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines by 2030.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘These figures prove without a doubt that ULEZ is exceeding expectations, reducing polluting vehicles and cleaning up our lethal air. I am determined to stop Londoners breathing air so filthy it is damaging our children’s lungs and causing thousands of premature deaths. The ULEZ shows what we can achieve if we are brave enough to implement such ambitious policies.
‘I now hope the government will match my ambition and amend their environment bill to ensure it has the legally binding WHO- recommended limits to be achieved by 2030 that we need to protect public health.’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to expand the zone’s boundary in 2021 should he be re-elected next year.
Conservative Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has previously said he would set aside the money for the planned expansion of the ULEZ in 2021 to pay for 371 electric buses.
Catherine Westoby from Transport for London (TfL) will be speaking about the first six months of ULEZ at Air Quality News’ sixth National Air Quality Conference, which will be held on November 12 at Lord’s Cricket Ground. For more information click here.
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