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Our response to the expanded London Ultra Low Emission Zone consultation

Map of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution concentrations across Greater London

Swathes of London suffer illegal levels of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution (TfL)

Map of PM2.5 pollution concentrations across Greater London

No areas of London are within World Health Organisation Guidelines for Particulate Matter pollution (GLA)

30 November 2017

All Londoners should benefit from cleaner air: our response to Ultra Low Emission Zone announcement.

  • The Mayor of London has proposed expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular roads for all vehicles from 25 October 2021
  • From 26 October 2020, ULEZ standards would then apply across Greater London for buses, coaches and lorries only
  • Consultation seeks the public’s views on these actions to lower toxic pollutant emissions
  • Sustrans joins calls for a Londonwide Ultra Low Emission Zone for all vehicles alongside major push for walking and cycling, so that all Londoners can breathe clean air

The Mayor of London today launched a new public consultation on the next phase of his plans to tackle London’s toxic air, reduce filthy emissions and protect the public from harmful pollution by expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Under a proposal which is out for consultation today, the ULEZ standards would be applied over the breadth of Greater London (Londonwide) for buses, coaches and lorries from 26 October 2020 and for all vehicles (with limited exemptions) up to the north and south circular roads from 25 October 2021.

The proposals are part of the Mayor’s wider plans to help thousands more Londoners breathe cleaner air, protect public health and reduce car emissions from older more polluting vehicles.

The Mayor recently delivered the first phase of these plans by introducing the new Toxicity Charge in central London for the oldest vehicles on top of the Congestion Charge.

From 08 April 2019, the ULEZ will replace the T-Charge and operate in the same Congestion Charge area alongside the congestion charge but will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The daily charge for non-compliant vehicles will increase from £10 to £12.50 (for cars, vans and motorbikes) and £100 (for buses, coaches and lorries).

The consultation launched today is for the third phase that will deliver the health benefits of ULEZ to thousands more Londoners by extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2021. This could affect 100,000 cars a day, 35,000 vans a day and 3,000 lorries a day.

Matt Winfield, London Director for Sustrans, said:
“The Mayor’s proposals to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone to the North and South Circular have our full support and we want to see the zone expand to cover all vehicles over the whole of Greater London in 2020 so that from Croydon to Romford all Londoners benefit from cleaner air alongside moves to clear the city of diesel entirely.

“Beyond these measures, the evidence shows that to tackle toxic particulate pollution we need fewer vehicles not just cleaner engines, that’s why the Mayor and Boroughs must press on with a comprehensive network of high-quality cycling routes reaching across London and use every available tool to reduce the dominance of traffic on our streets.”

Rachel White, Sustrans' Senior Policy and Political Advisor, added:
“The Mayor of London is showing welcome leadership on tackling toxic air pollution with proposals to expand the ULEZ across more of London and record spending on cycling. While the Scottish Government plans to introduce low emission zones in four cities by 2020 and has doubled its active travel budget; the UK Government’s Air Quality Plan lags way behind and will do little to address the problem at its source.”

The World Health Organisation state that there is no safe level for the smallest Particulate Matter (PM2.5) pollution, a major source of which is from the erosion of tyres and brake pads. The Mayor has already strengthened the ULEZ standards to include a particulate matter standard after recent health data revealed that every part of London exceeds recommended World Health Organisation air quality guidelines for PM2.5. The Mayor’s draft London Environment Strategy plans to meet these guidelines by 2030.

Other action from the Mayor includes cleaning up the bus fleet, creating 12 Low Emission Bus Zones, phasing out diesel taxis, funding 50 schools air quality audits, setting tighter standards for construction machinery and introducing air quality alerts. He has also created a Cleaner Vehicle Checker so Londoners can check the real-world emissions of cars and vans before buying them.

The benefits of the expanded ULEZ are reported to include:

  • Approximately 100,000 people will no longer live in areas exceeding legal limits, which is a reduction of nearly 80 per cent in 2021. 

  • 43 per cent fewer roads exceeding limit values in 2020 and 64 per cent fewer in 2021

  • 71 per cent reduction in schools in areas of exceedance in 2021 – rapidly lowering harmful emissions than can reduce lung development in children

  • In outer London there would be around a 20 per cent reduction in NOx road transport emissions, and in inner London there would be around a 30 per cent reduction in NOx road transport emissions in 2021

Sustrans is a partner of the Healthy Air Campaign along with 17 other health and environmental organistaions. In December 2016 Sustrans signed an open letter with 10 other organisations to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking him to ban diesel cars by no later than 2025, to tackle air pollution in London.

Consultation closes February 2018: Have your say on changes to the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone

Find out more about the Healthy Air Campaign