- Air quality high on the agenda of new Mayor of London
- Extension of Ultra-Low Emission Zone and increased charges for high-polluting cars proposed
- TFL to begin reviewing possibility of diesel scrappage scheme
The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans aimed to tackle the problem of toxic air pollution in London this week.
Speaking of the formal policy consultation he will be launching, Khan said: “I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to meet the scale of the challenge.”
According to the latest medical research, almost 1,000 Londoners die every year due to polluted air, and the mayor said his adulthood asthma is a result of city pollution.
Khan has put forward a series of proposals that are likely to impact company car drivers sooner than originally thought.
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was due to be introduced within the Congestion Charging Zone in 2020 but new proposals mean it could be extended to both the North and South Circular roads earlier than 2020.
The ULEZ will be an area operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where all vehicles will need to meet exhaust emissions standards in order to travel, otherwise drivers face a daily fee to travel.
If Khan’s plans are put into action, drivers of the most polluting cars will incur even further charges for entering central London, on top of the standard Congestion Charge, making the difference in cost for a driver exempt to these charges and one that incurs all of these much larger than before. For company car drivers, it will become more important than ever to consider the environmental implications - and cost - of a car if travelling in London is a regular occurrence.
In the wake of the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal, the introduction of a diesel scrappage scheme for London will also be pushed with these proposals as the mayor will give the go-ahead for TFL to begin reviewing the costs and challenges of implementing the scheme.
It would allow owners of old, highly-polluting diesel cars to receive a cash payment to subsidise a new low-emission vehicle, with a view to helping London get back on track to meeting legal requirements of pollution.
Although these are currently just proposals, the issue of air quality appears to be high on the new mayor’s agenda so it’s unlikely to be long before we start seeing changes that will impact the future of driving in London.