London confirms Ultra Low Emission Zone launch date


London will receive the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in September 2020 following positive public support, the capital’s mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Tighter standards on cars entering central London are expected to halve emissions of harmful pollution and particulate matter from vehicle exhausts in the capital’s existing Congestion Charge Zone.

A public consultation on the measures saw 79% of the 16,000 respondents in favour of tackling poor air quality in London while 58% said they ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ introduction of the ULEZ.

Prime minister David Cameron said: ‘I welcome this announcement which is a world first and great news for London, helping to enhance the quality of life and creating opportunities for companies who develop and manufacture this kind of technology. This will build on the UK’s strengths in low emission technology and the Government is backing this initiative with £25m of support.’

Mayor Johnson also reaffirmed Transport for London’s (TfL) commitment to ensuing all single decker buses are at a zero emission status and double decker buses are hybrid by the decade’s end.

Some £65m will be offered to support taxi drivers transition to zero emission capable vehicles. From January 2018 they will need to meet stricter pollution demands.

Concerns were raised last week by Liam Griffin, chief executive of taxi firm Addison Lee, that the capital’s electric charging infrastructure would not be ready for the demand caused by the ULEZ.

However a £20m fund has now been opened to local authorities looking to support adoption of low emission taxis and minicabs, in addition to £10m to help deliver a rapid charging network.

TfL is also expected to continue lobbying the Office for Low Emission Vehicles for more funding from its £500m pot to support uptake and deliver surrounding infrastructure.

Mr Johnson, said: ‘The world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to help improve air quality in our city, protect the health of Londoners, and lengthen our lead as the greatest city on earth.

‘With additional funds announced today, more help is on the way for taxi drivers to support their transition to the latest technology in greener cabs. Together we can ensure everyone who lives, works in, or visits our city has the cleanest possible air to breathe.’

Michèle Dix, TfL's managing director responsible for the ULEZ, added: ‘The ULEZ is a feasible and effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too.’

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