The enlarged zone is an extension of what was the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) covering mainly central London, reports Asian Lite News
Europe’s biggest ultra-low emission zone, spanning about 380 square km of London, has come into operation.
Around 3.8 million people live within the zone which extends to the north and south circular roads around the British capital, reports Xinhua news agnecy.
London City Hall expects around 110,000 vehicles are likely to pay a 12.50 pounds ($17.22) charge for driving within the new zone.
Drivers who don’t pay face a penalty charge of 160 pounds, reduced to half if paid within 14 days.
The enlarged zone is an extension of what was the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) covering mainly central London.
A City Hall spokesperson said: “The new zone covers one quarter of London and is the largest zone of its kind in Europe. It will bring the health benefits of cleaner air to millions more Londoners. The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas Day.”
The ULEZ is also a crucial step towards London’s ambitions to tackle the climate emergency and put the city on the path to be a net zero carbon city by 2030.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is a landmark day for our city. Expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone today will clean up London’s toxic air pollution and help tackle the global climate emergency by reducing emissions.
“In central London, the ULEZ has already helped cut toxic roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half and led to reductions that are five times greater than the national average. But pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why expanding the ULEZ today will benefit Londoners across the whole of the city and is a crucial step in London’s green recovery from this pandemic.”
According to Khan, pollution leads to 4,000 London residents dying early each year and children in the capital growing up with stunted lungs.
Khan has provided 61 million pounds in funding for grants for small businesses, charities operating minibuses, and low-income and disabled Londoners to scrap older, more polluting vehicles.
Sarah Woolnough, CEO of the charities Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation welcomed the move.
“Whilst this is a huge step in the right direction, we mustn’t be complacent against this invisible threat. The fact of the matter remains that the majority of people living in London, are still living in areas where pollution levels are dangerously high.”
Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said: “London’s toxic air is a crisis that requires bold action right now. The expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone is vital if we are to help prevent more premature deaths and serious health conditions, as well as tackle the pressing issue of the climate emergency. The central ULEZ that launched in April 2019 was a world first and has already seen harmful nitrogen dioxide slashed by 44 per cent. Today’s expansion of the zone will see the whole city breathing cleaner air.
“More than 20 million motorists have already checked the compliance of their vehicle since 2018, and if you still unsure please use our checker. We are now seeing 87 per cent vehicles in the zone meeting the standard, this is much than we would have expected if the scheme hadn’t been introduced, and it highlights how the scheme has already been effective in cleaning up London’s air. For those liable for the charge, we would ask them to consider walking and cycling where possible, or using public transport. If they do need to drive, car clubs with ULEZ-compliant vehicles, or switching to a cleaner vehicle, are the best options.”
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation and World Health Organization Advocate for Health and Clean Air, said: “The coroner’s inquest into my daughter Ella’s death made clear that all levels of government must work to get dirty cars off the road, to protect human health. Children suffer the most from air pollution, as their lungs develop until they are ten. The ULEZ is helping to clean up the air that London’s children breathe from the moment they step out of their homes.”
Anjali Raman-Middleton, 17, Co-founder of Choked Up, said: “We’ve already seen the impact that the ULEZ has had on our air and are thrilled to be supporting its expansion. This is a significant step in cleaning our air and meeting London’s target of carbon-neutrality by 2030. Whilst there is still work to be done to ensure that every Londoner breathes easy, ULEZ expansion will improve the health of millions.”
Jordan Cummins, CBI London Head of Policy, said: “The CBI recognises and welcomes the Mayor’s continued commitment to improving London’s air quality. The extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone comes at a critical moment, as the UK hosts COP26, and the capital continues to set a world-leading example to global cities on emissions reduction. To achieve this, with business as a partner, it is also critical that we look to secure a cohesive London-wide set of clean air policies – supporting consumers and businesses to make the shift to cleaner vehicles and delivering the charging and refuelling infrastructure that is required to reach the capital’s net zero ambitions.”
Professor Sir Stephen T Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor at Southampton, UKRI Clean Air Champion and Special Advisor to the RCP on Air Quality, said: “Air pollution is a scourge on society, especially harming the young and old as well as those with pre-existing diseases. With the expansion of the ULEZ today, the Mayor of London has taken a vital step that will deliver major reductions in toxic pollutants across London. Reductions that will have significant benefits for the health of all Londoners.”
Jane Burston, Executive Director, Clean Air Fund, said: “London continues to be a world leader in developing and implementing ground-breaking clean air policies, designed to improve the health of everyone who lives, works and learns in the city. Where London leads, others will follow. We look forward to seeing more cities in the UK and around the world, inspired by London’s can-do attitude, introducing similar schemes to make our cities healthier, happier places in which to live and grow.”
Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said: “The ULEZ expansion is a vital step on the path to achieving zero tailpipe emissions from vehicles and a beacon of hope in the days before COP26.”
Richard Dilks, Chief Executive of CoMoUK said: “The expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone is a symbiotic fit with shared transport options such as car clubs, bike and e scooter share schemes as they all enable Londoners to step away from car ownership. Doing that cuts people’s transport emissions and costs while cleaning up London’s air and delivering more liveable neighbourhoods.”
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