Hackney ,

TfL's Ultra Low Emission Zone plans not good enough, say four London councils


Four inner-London councils have joined forces to lobby Transport forLondon (TfL) to dramatically expand and advance its proposals to improve air quality in the capital and see-off possible fines from the EU.

TfL’s plans to create an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) across centralLondon, in order to reduce polluting exhaust fumes and thereby improve health and avoid a projected £300million EU fine, were put out to public consultation last week.

Among these proposals are plans to charge vehicles that do not meet new ULEZ emissions standards upon entering the ULEZ - which follows the current congestion charge boundary - from 2020.

But Hackney, Camden, Lambeth and Southwark councils say these proposals do not go far enough in creating cleaner air and will not result in London avoiding heavy fines.

The councils also fear that:

  • The charge may lead to polluting vehicles diverting around the ULEZ, resulting in potentially worse air quality around the zone's fringes
  • Taxis, some of the most polluting vehicles in London, will be exempt
  • There is no information on how funds from charging will be used
  • There are no scrappage schemes, or other incentives, for non-compliant vehicles proposed as part of the scheme
  • 2020 is too long to wait to establish the zone

Now the four councils want TfL to:

  • Strongly consider widening the zone and tightening standards incrementally
  • Clearly ring-fence funds collected for air quality improvement and sustainable transport uses
  • Layout a progressive charging structure, including higher levies against more polluting motors, in order to gradually phase out diesel engines
  • Introduce a scrappage scheme in tandem with the roll-out of the zone
  • Include exemptions of the ULEZ when it would cause genuine business hardship
  • Strengthen the existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ) so that it applies to all vehicles by 2025
  • Provide further ULEZ options if necessary

Cllr Feryal Demirci, from Hackney Council; Cllr Sally Gimson of Camden; Cllr Mark Williams of Southwark; and Cllr Jennifer Braithwaite from Lambeth yesterday (Tuesday, 4 November) handed their proposals into City Hall for London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Hackney Council
TfL’s proposal is welcomed as a necessary first step to improve the capital’s air quality, responsible for the equivalent of around 4,300 deaths in the capital each year, and I would urge boroughs to support the proposal. However, whilst we agree that the ULEZ is cutting edge and innovative, the boroughs of Hackney, Camden, Lambeth and Southwark are concerned that the ULEZ proposals do not go far enough. In particular, the current proposals will not result in EU Air Quality targets being met across London.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Hackney Council

The UK currently faces EU infraction proceedings due to its failure to meet EU targets for nitrogen dioxide and, in London, boroughs potentially face being handed down a portion of any resulting fine by the Mayor of London