Traffic congestion on the motorway

Consider stricter pollution standards for diesel vehicles

29 July 2016

Prompt action from the Mayor on air pollution has been warmly received by the London Assembly Environment Committee in its response[1] to the Mayor’s initial public consultation on his air pollution action plan[2]. The Committee supports a number of the proposed measures, including the T-charge and Cleaner Bus Corridors.

The Committee had also urged the previous Mayor to bring forward and widen the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) - plans which are now being considered by the current Mayor. 

Earlier this month, the Committee heard evidence from a range of organisations and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to find out more detail about the Mayor’s plans and to hear expert feedback on the proposals.

Following this, the Committee has made a number of recommendations in its response to the proposals, including:


  • The Mayor should consider a tighter standard for diesel vehicles (Euro 5 rather than Euro 4) in his autumn consultation for the T-charge.
  • Earlier implementation of the ULEZ to 2018 or the beginning of 2019, from its proposed introduction of September 2019.
  • A larger zone than the proposed boundary of the North and South Circular roads should be considered and included in the final ULEZ consultation. 
  • The proposed diesel scrappage scheme must move users from diesel cars to either walking or cycling, or much cleaner alternatives - ideally electric or hybrid vehicles or other modes of transport - rather than into other diesel vehicles that still emit dangerous levels of NOX. Greener forms of transport, such as walking and cycling, need to be promoted.


The Committee will also respond to the formal consultations on the proposed T-charge and the changes to the ULEZ when they launch.


Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, said:

“We welcome the Mayor’s proposals to clean up London’s dirty air and the speed at which his action plan has been introduced. However, the Committee has heard evidence from a range of experts who believe even greater results for Londoners can be achieved within quicker timeframes, with the introduction of further measures. 

For example, the T-charge is due to apply only to pre-Euro 4 standard vehicles - this includes the majority of vehicles from before January 2005. When we compare this measure to other global cities - we know that diesel vehicles this old have been banned completely from inner Berlin since 2010. The T-charge is expected to reduce car-based NOX emissions in central London by just four per cent, so increasing the exemption standard to Euro 5 for diesel vehicles could ultimately save many more lives”.

Read the full response

Notes to editors


  1. The response is the view of a majority of the Committee, agreed by the Green and Labour Groups, with the Conservative Group dissenting.
  2. Mayor’s air pollution action plan – 5 July 2016.
  3. Read the Environment Committee response.
  4. Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.