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London Mayor urged to consider tighter standard for diesel vehicles in capital

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London Assembly environment committee has urged the London Mayor to consider tighter standards on diesel vehicles as part of his air pollution action plan.

The committee supports a number of the proposed measures, including the T-charge and Cleaner Bus Corridors and had also urged the previous Mayor to bring forward and widen the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) - plans which are now being considered by the current Mayor. 

Earlier this month, it heard evidence from a range of organisations and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to find out more detail about the Mayor’s plans and to hear expert feedback on the proposals.

Following this, the committee has made a number of recommendations in its response to the proposals, including:

  • The Mayor should consider a tighter standard for diesel vehicles (Euro 5 rather than Euro 4) in his autumn consultation for the T-charge.
  • Earlier implementation of the ULEZ to 2018 or the beginning of 2019, from its proposed introduction of September 2019.
  • A larger zone than the proposed boundary of the North and South Circular roads should be considered and included in the final ULEZ consultation. 
  • The proposed diesel scrappage scheme must move users from diesel cars to either walking or cycling, or much cleaner alternatives - ideally electric or hybrid vehicles or other modes of transport - rather than into other diesel vehicles that still emit dangerous levels of NOX. Greener forms of transport, such as walking and cycling, need to be promoted.

The committee will also respond to the formal consultations on the proposed T-charge and the changes to the ULEZ when they launch.

 Leonie Cooper, chairman of the environment committee, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s proposals to clean up London’s dirty air and the speed at which his action plan has been introduced.

"However, the committee has heard evidence from a range of experts who believe even greater results for Londoners can be achieved within quicker timeframes, with the introduction of further measures. 

"For example, the T-charge is due to apply only to pre-Euro 4 standard vehicles - this includes the majority of vehicles from before January 2005.

"When we compare this measure to other global cities - we know that diesel vehicles this old have been banned completely from inner Berlin since 2010.

"The T-charge is expected to reduce car-based NOX emissions in central London by just 4%, so increasing the exemption standard to Euro 5 for diesel vehicles could ultimately save many more lives." 

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