Sadiq Khan has written to the Prime Minister warning that that UK must sign up to a series of major interventions including a national diesel scrappage fund, new low emission zones across the UK and a Clean Air Act for the 21st Century.
He warned the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom will fail to meet its legal obligations on air quality unless the government takes action now.
In his letter to the Prime Minister the Mayor calls on the government to:
- Introduce a national diesel scrappage fund – to help drivers who bought diesel cars in good faith. He has previously written to the Chancellor proposing a targeted, fully-costed, city-led, time-limited approach.
- Introduce ULEZ-style schemes where needed in other towns and cities across the UK. Yesterday the Mayor launched a consultation on introducing the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in April 2019 - 17 months earlier than previously planned. He also set out plans to expand the ULEZ up to the North / South circular roads for all vehicles (except taxis) from 2021 and across the whole of Greater London for buses, coaches and lorries from 2020.
- Take action to ensure that national policies send the right messages to consumers. Vehicle excise duty (VED) and other fiscal incentives continue to encourage the purchase of diesel cars – and they need to be amended.
- Draft new legislation including a 21st Century Clean Air Act, which could provide the overarching framework for action. It should provide a legally enforceable right to clean air for all citizens and the Government should introduce new powers to better regulate all emissions sources, not just road transport. For example, London needs additional powers to manage emissions from the river and construction sites.
Khan said: “The government must play a full part if we are to protect the health of our fellow citizens and achieve legal air quality limits as quickly as possible. It is a national problem which requires national action, and the Prime Minister has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the quality of the air in the capital and across the country. I am doing all I can in London - but the only way we can make our lethal air safe is if the government commits to the major measures experts agree are necessary to tackle this incredibly serious issue.”