London’s Mayor doubles clean air funding

Sadiq Khan has announced that £875 million will be invested in action to improve the quality of the Capital’s air through to 2021/22.

Ahead of the publication of the draft Transport for London (TfL) Business Plan, the Mayor of London has confirmed that the amount of money committed to tackling the Capital’s air quality crisis will be more than doubled over the next five years.

London does not meet legal requirements for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and a number of areas are not currently forecast by government to meet their air quality targets until 2025. Worryingly, each year 9,400 deaths occur in the Capital which can be attributed to air quality related illnesses.

Among the mayors proposals are the previously mentioned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which he plans to introduce from 2019, and consulting on the Emissions Surcharge, which will remove older polluting vehicles from central London, involving £22 million of direct investment.

As part of the ULEZ package, 12 Low Emission Bus Zones will be implemented, starting next year on Putney High Street. Alongside this, a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double decker buses from 2018 will be established, as will a pledge to make the 3,100 double-decker buses operating in the zone Euro VI hybrid in 2019.

Khan said: “With nearly 10,000 Londoners dying early every year due to air pollution, tackling poor air quality is a public health emergency that requires bold action. I want London to be a world leader in how we respond to the challenge of cleaning up our air, and today I’m announcing that TfL will be doubling spending on improving London’s air over the next five years.

“In taking action such as setting up for the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission buses I’m ensuring that tackling air quality becomes a central part of how our transport network operates.

“London’s air quality continues to breach legal levels, which is why I have taken this unprecedented action. The onus is now on the government to prove that they share my ambition. By funding a national diesel scrappage scheme and reforming vehicle excise duty the government could also prove that they understand the enormity of our air quality emergency.”