Londoners back Mayor’s plan to tackle pollution in the capital

14 September 2016

Londoners have backed the Mayor of London in record numbers to press ahead with expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and introduce a major early crackdown on the most polluting vehicles to clean up the capital’s filthy air. 

Sadiq Khan has today published consultation results obtaining the views of a record 15,000 Londoners – the highest number of responses to a City Hall consultation ever. Londoners gave him their overwhelming support on a bold and comprehensive package of measures to tackle air quality in London.

The Mayor is leading the way in taking urgent action to help end London’s ‘public health emergency’ after revealing that the equivalent of almost 9,500 Londoners die from long-term exposure to air pollution every year and 443 schools in the capital are in areas exceeding safe air quality levels.

The consultation, which ran from 5 July to 29 July, revealed that 79 per cent of Londoners consulted supported Sadiq’s proposal to bring the Ultra Low Emission Zone forward to 2019 and that 71 per cent believe it should be expanded to the North and South Circular.

Consultation results indicate widespread support for the Mayor’s call to Government for a diesel scrappage scheme to help Londoners switch away from the most polluting cars.

There is even stronger support for implementing an early £10 Emissions Surcharge (dubbed the ‘T-charge’) on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from 2017. The consultation found 81 per cent supported the charge, which would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emissions standards – typically those registered before 2005 – and will cost an extra £10 per day on top of the existing Congestion Charge.

Other results of the consultation show that:

  • The majority of Londoners believe air pollution is a problem in the capital, particularly in central London.
  • 87 per cent want the ULEZ to be expanded further and 60 per cent London-wide for heavier commercial vehicles.
  • Londoners want to be better informed and alerted when pollution is at its worst.

Since the consultation, the Mayor has already implemented a new programme of air quality advice and alerts following strong demand from Londoners. On the day before high and very high air pollution days, alerts will now be displayed on road signs, at bus stops and station entrances.

Sadiq Khan said: “A record number of Londoners responded to our consultation, which demonstrates they feel just as strongly as I do that cleaning up the capital’s killer air has to be a major priority.

“The equivalent of 9,500 Londoners die each year as a result of the air they breathe in our city, I refuse to sit back and do nothing. Both the previous Mayor and the Government failed to get their act together to meet legal pollution limits and that’s why I have put forward some bold, hard-hitting measures to tackle this issue head on. I will consider the consultation findings in more detail before deciding on the next steps.

“Londoners were clear they supported my proposals, with a clear majority in favour of not only introducing the ULEZ earlier in 2019, but extending it beyond central London. They are also strongly in favour of the T charge-charge and most importantly, Londoners were clear that Government needs to do its bit to help meet the new ULEZ standards and that it should fund a scrappage scheme. Government now needs to listen to Londoners and work with me to deliver a national diesel scrappage scheme.”

The outcome of this consultation is being used by City Hall officials to shape the next round, which will start next month. The next round, which will be for 10 weeks, will include a more detailed and specific consultation on the T-charge reflecting comments made in the first round - ready for implementing in 2017.  

The Mayor has instructed TfL to take the lead by stepping up its bus retrofit programme and introducing the first of a series of ‘Low Emission Bus Zones’ – prioritising the greenest buses on the worst polluted routes. The Mayor has also said he only wants TfL to procure hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018. On the 9 September two new all-electric bus routes were launched using 51 all-electric single deck buses. This takes the number of electric buses in use in London to 73, making it the largest electric bus fleet in Europe.

Notes to editors

1, These are the results of the first stage of the Mayor’s clean air consultation with later stages focusing on more detailed statutory consultations for the £10 Emissions Surcharge (‘T-Charge’) and ULEZ. The next stage is due next month. To view the results of the consultation, visit: http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/clean-air-consultation-july-2016 

2, The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is an area within which all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will need to meet exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards) or pay a daily charge to travel of £12.50 a day for cars/vans/motorcycles and £100 for coaches/HGVs/buses. These figures were set by the previous Mayor in 2015.The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ), and comes into force in 2020. The consultation today proposes bringing forward the central London ULEZ to 2019 and extending the zone to the North and South Circular.