Local Democracy Reporting ServiceCopyright: BBC
Toxic air pollution from cars is now worse in outer London than in the city centre, new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has revealed.
Nitrogen oxide pollution – a carcinogenic biproduct of diesel engines – is 23% higher on average at locations outside London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), according to the climate action non-profit.
The fund is responsible for a network of more than 200 air quality sensors across the city, run in partnership with the mayor of London.
Their study found that the five worst pollution hotspots are all outside the ULEZ, with the Broadway in Ealing ranked worst for toxic air.
Cromwell Road in Kingston, Romford Road in Newham, Putney High Street in Wandsworth and Euston Road in Camden were also among the worst sites in the city.
Sadiq Khan plans to extend the ULEZ to the up to the north and south circular roads next year – and three of these five worst locations will then be covered.
But the study suggests many of London’s worst affected areas will still be outside the zone.
Environmental Defense Fund policy and campaigns chief Oliver Lord said London needs “more ambition at local level” to tackle toxic air.
“Increasing car ownership and a lack of policy in outer London could leave us in danger of dividing communities, and some of the most deprived neighbourhoods are at risk of being left behind in the fight for clean air,” he said.
Zak Bond, policy officer for the British Lung Foundation, said accelerating the move away from diesel cars to 2030 was a “vital step”, adding that "breathing in dirty air is bad for everyone’s health but can be particularly dangerous for those living with lung conditions".
Local Democracy Reporting Service
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Congestion Charge will be suspended for another three weeks, Sadiq Khan has said.
The central London levies are designed to reduce gridlock and toxic air pollution at the heart of the city.
Drivers normally pay £11.50 for the congestion charge on weekdays, and £12.50 if they drive a polluting vehicle within the ULEZ zone.
But the charges have been paused during the coronavirus outbreak to help key workers get to their jobs without using public transport.
Now the Mayor says since lockdown has “not been lifted”, the suspension will stay in place.
Toxic air pollution in central London has fallen by a third since the introduction of a new traffic charging zone, according to City Hall.Copyright: BBC
Levels of nitrogen dioxide in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) dropped by 30% in the first six months of the scheme,
Breathing high levels of the chemical has been linked to lung disease, heart problems and premature death and hundreds more adults and children are admitted for strokes and asthma attacks when pollution is high, the King's College research found.
Sadiq Khan said the figures “prove without a doubt” that the ULEZ has gone beyond expectations in cleaning up London’s air.
The zone, introduced in April, covers the same area as the Congestion Charge; vehicles must meet low emission standards, or pay £12.50 per day to enter the area.
The Mayor plans to expand the ULEZ out to the North and South Circular roads in October 2021.
Car fumes currently make up half of all air pollution in London
- Copyright: PA Media
The number of older, more polluting vehicles entering central London has continued to decrease since the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), new figures from City Hall show.
The latest data shows there were about 13,500 fewer polluting cars in the zone in September compared to March when ULEZ began.
Previous figures which were released comparing July to March showed there were 12,500 fewer vehicles.
City Hall also revealed that 77% of vehicles which enter the area now meet the emissions standards, compared to 75% in July and 61% in March.
London's Mayor Sadiq Khan said that ULEZ was "without a doubt... exceeding expectations, reducing polluting vehicles and cleaning up our lethal air".
- Copyright: PA Media
Fewer older, more polluting vehicles are entering central London since the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), new figures from Transport for London (TfL) show.
The data shows that there were about 12,500 fewer non-compliant vehicles entering the area on an average day in July 2019 compared to March before ULEZ was implemented.
TfL also found that 75% of vehicles which enter the area now meet the emissions standards.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it was "highly encouraging to see that so many motorists and businesses are helping reduce pollution by driving cleaner vehicles into the zone."
- Copyright: EPA
London's current road user charging should be replaced with a more sophisticated app-based system where costs are based on individual vehicle emissions, local congestion levels, pollution and availability of public transport, a think tank has found.
The report, called Green Light: Next Generation of Road User Charging for a Healthier, More Liveable London, found that while current schemes like the congestion charge and the Ulez were much-needed, they were creating a confusing system for drivers and would be made worse as new charges like those proposed for the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels are added.
The report authors, Centre for London, said a new digital scheme could be run by Transport for London which would give drivers the costs and impacts of using their vehicle versus alternative modes of transport.
Rather than each driver being charged a flat daily rate, costs would be based on the impact of individual journeys in terms of journey length, road surface damage, economic costs and environmental damage.
The Centre for London said the new system would reduce congestion and cut air pollution, while allowing investment in road maintenance.
Silviya Barrett, research manager at Centre for London said "new technologies are rapidly transforming the way people travel.
"It is time for London's approach to road user charging to keep up with the pace of change," she said.
By Matt McGrath
By Anthony Reuben
BBC Reality Check