London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been branded a success after new statistics revealed a massive uptick in the number of less polluting vehicles entering the centre of the capital.
The ULEZ was introduced on April 8 to sit alongside the congestion charge, and sees motorists in older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles charged an additional daily fee.
Transport for London’s (TfL) analysis of the zone’s first month in operation found that on a typical day, 71 per cent of the vehicles driving in the zone during Congestion Charge hours were compliant with low-emission standards. This represents an increase of 80 per cent compared with February 2017.
TfL also reported that this was having a noticeable effect on pollution levels, “including a reduction of approximately 20 per cent in NO2 concentrations measured at roadside monitoring sites in the zone since February 2017”.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Today’s report shows how bold action reaps rewards – just one month after launching the world’s first ULEZ, we have already seen a significant impact on the types of vehicles driving in the centre of our capital and polluting our air.
“It’s early days, but it’s great to see Londoners and businesses are doing their bit to make a difference, with nearly three quarters of the vehicles driving into central London each day now meeting the standards required to turn around this public health crisis.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams see many patients with conditions that potentially have links to air pollution, and we know that heart and lung diseases in particular can be exacerbated by poor air quality.
“It’s really encouraging to know that the work being done by the mayor to tackle these issues is already having an impact, and we look forward to seeing the further benefits it will have on our patients, colleagues and the environment as the scheme progresses.”
To avoid the ULEZ charge, motorists must have a petrol vehicle that meets or exceeds Euro 4 emissions standards or a diesel that meets Euro 6 standards.
There are two ULEZ charge levels for vehicles entering the zone that do not meet these requirements. Cars, vans and motorbikes must pay £12.50, while lorries, buses and coaches must pay £100.
TfL says it ensured that every bus in its fleet met or exceeded these minimum requirements before the charge came into force.