London ULEZ cuts toxic air pollution by a third

New figures show there are now 13,500 fewer polluting cars being driven into central London every day since the Ultra Low Emission Zone was introduced six months ago.

A new report claims that  77 per cent of vehicles in the zone now meet the clean emissions standards, whilst roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution has reduced by 36 per cent in the zone. This is measured from February 2017 to September 2019, to reflect when the Mayor of London publicly confirmed the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) – the predecessor to the ULEZ - and people started to prepare for the schemes.

Separate analysis in the City Hall report estimates that the reduction in NO2 pollution solely attributable to the ULEZ is 29 per cent.

After six months, carbon dioxide emissions from road transport in the central zone are four per cent (9,800 tonnes) lower than if there was no scheme. When compared to 2016 levels, this equates to an expected 13 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions if the current compliance rates continued over the course of this year.

There has also been a reduction in traffic flows in central London in May and September 2019 of between three and nine per cent when compared to 2018, indicating the wider benefits of the ULEZ in encouraging people to switch to walking, cycling or using public transport.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “These figures prove without a doubt that ULEZ is exceeding expectations, reducing polluting vehicles and cleaning up our lethal air. I am determined to stop Londoners breathing air so filthy it is damaging our children’s lungs and causing thousands of premature deaths. The ULEZ shows what we can achieve if we are brave enough to implement such ambitious policies. I now hope the government will match my ambition and amend their environment bill to ensure it has the legally binding WHO- recommended limits to be achieved by 2030 that we need to protect public health.”

Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “The success of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a fantastic example of the difference Clean Air Zones, that charge the most-polluting vehicles, can make in reducing levels of pollution. We now want to see the ULEZ expanded to every polluted London borough to protect the lungs of every Londoner. And critically, we know dirty air isn't just a problem in London. Most UK cities have illegal and unsafe levels of pollution, which seriously effects the health and quality of life of the millions who have a lung disease and puts children at risk of developing a lung condition. That’s why similar Clean Air Zones must be urgently rolled out across the country to protect everyone’s lungs.”