Mayor Sadiq Khan vows to make London 'world's greenest capital'


Sadiq Khan launched the "most ambitious and wide-ranging plans" to clean up London's air, as he vowed to make the capital the greenest in the world.

The newly elected mayor visited Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School in Aldgate, central London, on Friday, where he made his first major announcement by outlining his plans for a consultation on new policies to tackle the toxic air issue in the capital.

He said: "What is quite clear from the mandate that I received last Thursday is that Londoners want a mayor to clean up in London - that is a fact.

"Almost 10,000 Londoners died last year because of our poor air - that is a fact. There are children in parts of London whose lungs are underdeveloped because of our air.

"We have had eight years of inaction, London now demands action. What I have announced today, 60 years from the Clean Air Act, is the most ambitious and wide-ranging plans to clean up our air."

Khan said the reason he is launching a consultation on the proposals is because he wants to hear from Londoners - especially if they have any plans they want him to consider.

Sadiq Khan Stefan Rousseau/PA

He said he also wants the Government to work with him on policy proposals and that a diesel scrappage scheme could be considered.

Policies up for consideration include extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone to the North and South Circular roads, implementing extra charges on the most polluting vehicles entering central London and purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018.

Campaigners welcomed the mayor's announcement of potential policies that could tackle air pollution in the capital.

ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: "This is a hugely positive announcement from the new mayor and shows clear ambition to clean up London's dirty air.

"We welcome his plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone and to bring it in earlier. This is vital if we are to take the dirtiest vehicles out of London.

"We will have to wait and see if the detail of the mayor's proposals matches his ambition."

Bridget Fox of the Campaign for Better Transport added: "It is good to see the new mayor recognises the need for urgent action on London's air pollution crisis.

"With dirty diesel engines the main cause, early introduction of an expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone would be a vital and welcome step. However, cleaning up central London's air while increasing pollution elsewhere in the capital is unacceptable.

"The mayor must also keep his promise to review the damaging plans for the Silvertown tunnel which would simply attract more heavy traffic through some of London's worst affected neighbourhoods."