Last year over 15,000 Londoners took part in the Mayor’s consultation on plans to tackle air pollution in the capital. We asked for your views on a range of measures to tackle the city’s air pollution problem in one of the largest public consultations undertaken at City Hall.
This is clearly an important issue for Londoners. Around nine in ten of you think that central London has a problem with pollution, while 68 per cent think air quality in your local high street is poor. Inner Londoners, who are especially affected by air pollution, are more likely to perceive a problem in their area. There are some hotspots of pollution, including Marylebone/Edgware Road/ Euston Road, Farringdon, Whitechapel, Angel, Archway, Green Lanes, Peckham Road, and West London along the M4.
New measures to tackle pollution
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and area covering the existing Congestion Charging Zone, is due to be introduced in September 2020. All cars, motorbikes, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles will need to meet exhaust emission standards to enter or pay a daily charge. The survey revealed that there is strong public support for bringing forward the implementation of the ULEZ a year earlier, to 2019 (79 per cent).
In addition, 7 in 10 Londoners want the boundaries for the ULEZ to be extended up to the North/South circular or Londonwide for light vehicles. This rises to 87 per cent for heavy vehicles.
The introduction of an ‘Emissions Surcharge’ from next year was supported by 81 per cent of you. This is an extra charge for the oldest, most polluting vehicles, driving at peak times in the Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ). 41 per cent of you think that £10 is the right level of daily charge for vehicles that do not meet emissions standards.
There is widespread support (77 per cent) for the Mayor’s call to Government for a diesel scrappage scheme to help Londoners switch away from polluting cars.
There was also a large amount of discussion and debate here on Talk London about the potential measures, with hundreds of comments posted on the pros and cons of the suggested measures, plus lots of suggestions of other ways to tackle air pollution.
Many people talked about how we could encourage more people to cycle in the city, “in the centre of London more and more people are choosing to travel by cycle. And more and more people would cycle if they felt it were safer to do so”. Others spoke about the need improve traffic flow, “look at traffic flow, signalling, light phasing and the loss of London road space which has caused serious congestion”. Other commonly mentioned ideas to improve air quality included more green infrastructure such as living walls or more trees; supporting electric/hybrid vehicle use in London; and slower speed limits or reducing engine idling.
The outcome of this consultation is being used by City Hall and Transport for London to further develop measures for addressing poor air quality. There will be another consultation with Londoners on these detailed proposals in October, with more information provided at www.london.gov.uk/cleanair in due course.
Some of the consultation results have been acted on immediately – the Mayor has implemented a programme of air quality alerts to the public on high pollution days, after 4-in-5 Londoners said they’d like to receive them. The Mayor has also announced the introduction of Low Emission Bus Zones, prioritising the greenest buses on the worst polluted routes as part of the wider programme to reduce emissions from the capital’s bus fleet.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to take part in the Clean Air consultation. You can read the full research report on the London Datastore. And of course, please do keep talking to us about your ideas for improving London’s air, here on Talk London.