Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Sadiq Khan outlines ambitious plans to tackle London pollution

Consultation due to open on harsh new penalties for dirtiest vehicles

The new Mayor of London has announced his plans to introduce a new T-Charge” to reduce toxic pollution in central London from next year.

Sadiq Khan will try to pile the charges for the most polluting vehicles on top of the congestion charge, and further extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), planned to come into force from 2020.

It could run city-wide, from the North Circular to the South Circular, in  ambitious plans - meaning that cars and trucks that fail to comply will have to pay £12.50 per day to travel in the zone.

A consultation will begin in the coming weeks on the proposals, but Mr Khan says he is acting with urgency, as pollution is thought to be causing over 9,000 deaths a year in the capital.

Mr Khan told the Evening Standard: "We need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge.

“I have been elected with a clear mandate to clean up London’s air – our biggest environmental challenge.

“In the past, London has only responded after an emergency, like with the Clean Air Act, which followed the Great London Smogs of the 1950s.

“But I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge.”

Mr Khan also announced that he would cancel the contracts for the Routemaster buses brought in be his predecessor Boris Johnson, saying he would bring in greener vehicles instead.

Professor Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, said however that the proposals were “too little and too late to provide the improvements in air quality that London needs”.

He added: “The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s, announcement that he will launch a formal policy consultation in a matter of weeks on a major package of measures to tackle air pollution is therefore very welcome news.”

Earlier this year we reported how campaigners announced that London needed to implement emergency restrictions on diesel vehicles, as the capital suffered a “very high” 10/10 particle pollution episode.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of the campaign organisation Clean Air in London, told road.cc diesel engines, which produce 90-95% of the most dangerous particulates and gases, need to be targeted during episodes of high air pollution.

He says people weren't sufficiently warned of the event in March, where particulates reached the maximum 10/10 score (link is external), or encourage people not to drive in the city centre, where vehicle exhaust is compounding a national air pollution spike.

 

Add new comment

19 comments

Avatar
Ramz | 7 years ago
0 likes

Sadiq Khan says:

"In the past, London has only responded after an emergency, like with the Clean Air Act, which followed the Great London Smogs of the 1950s.

“But I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge"

However pollution is worse today that the smog heyday of the 1950s. Boris Johnson was just very good at playing down the scale of the problem, while doing nothing about it.

Avatar
PhilRuss | 8 years ago
0 likes

[[[[[ Testsend

Avatar
bogbrush | 8 years ago
0 likes

Great stuff guys!

Avatar
Silver Rider | 8 years ago
2 likes

The focus on private vehicles would only have a marginal effect in central London, when I've commuted around Euston & Angel I'd estimate more than half the vehicles in the evening peak on the inner loop road were diesel taxis, with a fair amount of buses in the remainder. An urgent focus on these vehicles (which are easy to regulate) would produce quick benefits - perhaps starting with making certain streets zero-emission only on a short timescale. Some comments were made about tackling these vehicles but the timescales weren't reassuring, we can't put up with another five years of the status quo, that's nearly 50,000 dead. It should be recognised for the public health emergency it is.

Avatar
londoncommute replied to Silver Rider | 8 years ago
2 likes

Silver Rider wrote:

The focus on private vehicles would only have a marginal effect in central London, when I've commuted around Euston & Angel I'd estimate more than half the vehicles in the evening peak on the inner loop road were diesel taxis, with a fair amount of buses in the remainder. An urgent focus on these vehicles (which are easy to regulate) would produce quick benefits - perhaps starting with making certain streets zero-emission only on a short timescale. Some comments were made about tackling these vehicles but the timescales weren't reassuring, we can't put up with another five years of the status quo, that's nearly 50,000 dead. It should be recognised for the public health emergency it is.

 

It does seem like you'd have to be a complete nutter to voluntarily drive through London yourself so you're probably right about that.  I'm baffled though why taxis are treated any differently than private cars (being able to use bus lanes etc) as they are just a proxy for personal cars for lazy people who can't face commuting on mass transit systems with the great unwashed.

 

On a really niggly point, I wonder what percentage of bus passengers are truly using them to get from A to B as maybe they're not covered by tubes/trains against those having a travel card who see one passing and can't be bothered to walk 200m.  Maybe a tiny incremental charge for using them would free up / speed up buses for people who do need them?  If you could combine that with chucking taxis out of bus lanes and removing some of the bus lane bottlenecks then they'd become a better alternative. 

 

I did say I'd stop moaning about this......

Avatar
sam_smith | 8 years ago
0 likes

The Dutch system of zoning could be implimented in London. This is where, unless you have a bike, you can't directly travel between zones other than by a ring road making going by bike a quicker option. The scheme in Walthamstow that caused a huge stink when it was brought in last year was based on this system, in should be rolled out across London.

Avatar
IanW1968 | 8 years ago
1 like

Its not just London air quality is attrocious in most built up areas even relatively small towns.   

 

I wonder of we would sacrifice clean drinking water at the alter of the car? 

Isn't there somekind of legal mechanism to take action against councils that fail to maintain clean air? 

Avatar
musicalmarc | 8 years ago
0 likes

Cars are needed in London. If you work in central London almost anyone can get in via public transport but if travelling elsewhere public transport can be terrible. Try having kids and getting around the suburbs without a car. London needs fewer people travelling for work and school. 

Avatar
londoncommute replied to musicalmarc | 8 years ago
4 likes

musicalmarc wrote:

Cars are needed in London. If you work in central London almost anyone can get in via public transport but if travelling elsewhere public transport can be terrible. Try having kids and getting around the suburbs without a car. London needs fewer people travelling for work and school. 

 

That's just making excuses.  I hear so many times "oh you need a car when you have kids".   The same people then go on to moan about childhood asthma going up in London.  How can we expect people outside of London to reduce car usage when we have the best public transport and can't make small sacrifices?

 

Sorry, I'll stop ranting.

Avatar
bikebot | 8 years ago
2 likes

This is going to be a lot of fun to watch, just get yourself a map and look at the area covers by the north circular vs the south circular.  Tom Conti will be furious.

I give it a week before the first change.org petition appears  1

Avatar
50kcommute | 8 years ago
1 like

It's a start of doing something that's urgently required...it may cause disruption in many circles, but it's good to see him starting as hopefully he intends to go on!  1 

Avatar
wycombewheeler | 8 years ago
3 likes

A bold plan would be to remove private cars completely unless electric.

Congestion charging just allows the status quo with a nice revenue stream.

Avatar
londoncommute replied to wycombewheeler | 8 years ago
2 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:

A bold plan would be to remove private cars completely unless electric. Congestion charging just allows the status quo with a nice revenue stream.

 

That was kind of Zac Goldsmith's panacea which I found a bit depressing.  The idea of just replicating the current situation with electric cars is hardly ideal.  I've no idea why car ownership is up over 40% in zone 2.  I live 10 minutes walk from one of the best stations in SE London and everyone on the road has a car.  

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to londoncommute | 8 years ago
0 likes
londoncommute wrote:

wycombewheeler wrote:

A bold plan would be to remove private cars completely unless electric. Congestion charging just allows the status quo with a nice revenue stream.

 

That was kind of Zac Goldsmith's panacea which I found a bit depressing.  The idea of just replicating the current situation with electric cars is hardly ideal.  I've no idea why car ownership is up over 40% in zone 2.  I live 10 minutes walk from one of the best stations in SE London and everyone on the road has a car.  

The objective here is tackling pollution not congestion or road safety.

In the wider context removing cars altogether would be better.

Avatar
srchar | 8 years ago
4 likes

Good for him. I've just returned to London after two blissful months in the mountains outside Valencia. First ride through London yesterday saw me coughing and spluttering my way around the streets - it's that bad.

The solution to the local problem is quite simple: get private ownership of diesels down, however politically unpalatable it is to tax them off the road.

It still won't solve the wider problem of too many people living in too small an area of the country. London is so busy these days that I can't actually think of a pleasant form of transport. Tube, bus, cycling, driving, walking... it's just a pain in the arse to get anywhere.

Avatar
kie7077 replied to srchar | 8 years ago
1 like

srchar wrote:

... First ride through London yesterday saw me coughing and spluttering my way around the streets - it's that bad...

Ditto, I was coughing my guts up, and they have the audacity to say this is just moderate levels of pollution. 'Moderate' doesn't kill people, this pollution is killing people.

How many people do the councils employ to hand out parking tickets? How many police do they assign to 1 murder? Now consider that London pollution alone is killing roughly 9000 people per year.  So by right, there should be thousands of police checking vehicles and fining owners of vehicles who are illegally poisoning people to death. Is there not some kind of  gadget that can be used to spot check vehicle emmissions?

Simply implementing a toll and allowing vehicles to continue polluting won't fix anything, the current congestion charge hasn't stopped diesel vehicles so the new one won't either. There needs to be people out there checking vehicle emissions.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to kie7077 | 7 years ago
0 likes
kie7077 wrote:

srchar wrote:

... First ride through London yesterday saw me coughing and spluttering my way around the streets - it's that bad...

Ditto, I was coughing my guts up, and they have the audacity to say this is just moderate levels of pollution. 'Moderate' doesn't kill people, this pollution is killing people.

How many people do the councils employ to hand out parking tickets? How many police do they assign to 1 murder? Now consider that London pollution alone is killing roughly 9000 people per year.  So by right, there should be thousands of police checking vehicles and fining owners of vehicles who are illegally poisoning people to death. Is there not some kind of  gadget that can be used to spot check vehicle emmissions?

Simply implementing a toll and allowing vehicles to continue polluting won't fix anything, the current congestion charge hasn't stopped diesel vehicles so the new one won't either. There needs to be people out there checking vehicle emissions.

Yeah, exactly. Its all very well charging for nominal pollution-class of the vehicle, but I regularly see cars with something obviously wrong with them and great clouds of visible crap coming out of their exhausts. I don't believe for a moment that the nominal pollution-rating of most vehicles has more than a tangential relationship to how much crap they actually put out.

Not only are there those that are visibly, obviously faulty (do the police ever stop those guys?) its been widely reported that garages sometimes just remove catalytic converters rather than replace them, and of course the EU emissions tests have been shown to be useless anyway.

There need to be on-the-spot checks for actual emissions of individual vehicles.

Avatar
londoncommute | 8 years ago
5 likes

That's great news he's planning it to be wider than than just very central London.

Avatar
LegalFun replied to londoncommute | 8 years ago
2 likes

londoncommute wrote:

That's great news he's planning it to be wider than than just very central London.

I agree... now we just need to roll it out across other major urban areas.

I still don't see that with the vast amount of public transport there is in London, why people still drive. Perhaps with a bigger price incentive for public transport they wouldn't need cars at all.
Perhaps it should be car-free with a high quality rental scheme for when people want to visit the rest of the country eg holidays and visiting family.

Latest Comments