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Expansion of London’s ULEZ hailed ‘success’

Inner London’s NO2 concentrations are estimated to have fallen by 20% as a result of increasing the Ultra Low Emission Zone coverage area.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has published figures suggesting that four million more city residents are breathing significantly improved air following the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) last autumn, with all areas between the North and South Circular roads now covered by the scheme. 

Levels of dangerous Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) are estimated to have fallen by 20% since the expansion, and 44%  for central London, with 94% of vehicles driving through the Zone meeting its requirements on an average day. This compliance rate has increased from 87% before last year’s decision to widen the coverage area, and 39% when the ULEZ was initially introduced. 

The overall number of vehicles passing through the Zone have fallen, too, with around 21,000 fewer on roads in the area each day. So far, pre-pandemic pollution levels have not returned, with the ULEZ believed to be responsible for this achievement. While this is good news, the report makes it clear much more work needs to be one to ensure that every London resident can enjoy better air quality. 

 ‘I’m proud of the progress we have made in making our city’s air cleaner for millions of Londoners,’ said Mr Khan. ‘Today’s report shows the incredible difference that the expanded ULEZ is making after just six months. We must now capitalise on this success which is why I’m consulting on expanding the ULEZ London-wide to extend the benefits of clean air to all Londoners.

‘We have already come so far and I’m determined to build a better London for everyone, one that is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous for all. But we cannot act alone,’ he continued. ‘As Chair of C40 Cities, I am committed to working collaboratively across national borders and city boundaries to tackle air pollution, address the climate crisis, and help bring about the change we need to achieve the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development.’

In 2021, NO2 levels across Greater London were found to break legal limits, with many hotspots exceeding those levels by up to 50%.

Image credit: Ichigo121212

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