Plans to secure a green, clean future for London

A new net-zero by 2030 report has outlined the action required to reduce air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in London to create a greener, healthier city fit for the future.

Published by Element Energy, and commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, analysis shows that more action will be required by City Hall, particularly around reducing vehicle use in London, but that the Mayor does not have the funding or powers to deliver everything that’s required alone.

Therefore, Khan is using the findings to urge the government to provide much greater support to help London reach net-zero by 2030.

The new report states that in order to meet the climate change targets, car traffic must reduce by at least 27 per cent in London by the end of the decade. More than a third of car trips made by Londoners could be walked in under 25 minutes and two thirds could be cycled in under 20 minutes.

It is believed that, if no additional action is taken to reduce air pollution beyond the existing polices, around 550,000 Londoners would develop diseases attributable to air pollution over the next 30 years and the cumulative cost to the NHS and the social care system is estimated to be £10.4 billion.  

The report sets out that to achieve anywhere near a 27 per cent reduction in car vehicle kilometres, London will need a new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade at the latest. Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ - and replace them with a simple and fair scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.

Khan said: “This new report must act as a stark wake-up call for the government on the need to provide much greater support to reduce carbon emissions in London. It’s clear the scale of the challenge means we can’t do everything alone. But I’m not willing to stand by and wait when there’s more we can do in London that could make a big difference. We simply don’t have time to waste. The climate emergency means we only have a small window of opportunity left to reduce carbon emissions to help save the planet, and, despite the world-leading progress we have made over the last few years, there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the lungs of young Londoners.

“It’s clear the cost of inaction – to our economy, to livelihoods, to the environment and to the health of Londoners - would be far greater than the cost of transitioning to net-zero and reducing toxic air pollution. That’s why I’m today beginning a conversation with Londoners, local government and businesses about the best way forward to create the green, sustainable city we all want to see.”

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