Have your say on the Ultra Low Emission Zone for London
Londoners have until the end of this week to take part in TfL’s consultation on the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) so make sure you have your say. To respond, you can use the online survey response form. This allows you to give your opinion on particular aspects of the proposal as well as provide a more detailed response if you want.
An Ultra-Low Emission Zone could really tackle London’s air pollution problems. Road transport is the main source of air pollution in London and a ULEZ will help by setting minimum emission standards for vehicles wanting to enter that particular area. The effectiveness of such a scheme would depend on the types of vehicles covered, the standards (and exceptions) that are set and how, where and when these are applied.
The current proposals are not ambitious enough. This has been pointed out by Local Authorities in London, representatives from the freight and car manufacturing industries and community campaigners. Even TfL recognise that “levels of [nitrogen dioxide] will continue to exceed these limits in some areas, even with the [current proposed] ULEZ in place”. But they have kicked options on extending the area or tightening the standards into the long grass.
This still remains a great opportunity for Londoners to tell decision-makers they want urgent and ambitious action to protect their health from air pollution. The following are the main areas of improvement for the current ULEZ proposal:
- Extend the ULEZ area: The area is currently planned to be the same as the existing Congestion Charging Zone that covers only part of central London and 1.3% of the Greater London area. Extending the area to cover the whole of central London and more of inner London would deliver greater reductions in air pollution and benefit many more Londoners.
- Go beyond the Euro 6 standards towards zero emissions: The current proposals are very short sighted. They will set standards based solely on existing Euro emissions standards (generally Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol). These standards are known to have failed to deliver real world emission reductions of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollution from diesel vehicles. Whilst new testing regimes may lead to improvements, the current ULEZ proposals do not provide any contingency if this doesn’t happen. The ULEZ should include a schedule for progressively improving emissions standards with a clear path towards zero emission standards for all vehicles. This will allow vehicle owners and operators to be more informed in planning their purchases and will stimulate the zero emission vehicle market.
- Implement the ULEZ earlier: The proposed ULEZ won’t come in to force until 7th September 2020. As the Freight Transport Association point out, cleaner options are already available for some vehicle types and the ULEZ should be used to accelerate the take up of these through a phased implementation. This could start long before 2020.
- Improve the existing LEZ: The ULEZ proposal should integrate the existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ) so that the two schemes complement each other. The LEZ will need to apply to all vehicles and progressively tighten minimum compliance standards.
London’s proposed ULEZ is currently the first of its kind. It represents a valuable opportunity not just for Londoners but for other UK cities and towns that could follow in London’s footsteps. Adding your voice to support an ambitious Ultra-Low Emission Zone could take as little as 10 minutes so make sure you have your say.