Mayor considers Ultra Low Emissions Zone for the South Circular

London's planned Ultra Low Emissions Zone could be expanded to cover the South Circular (which grazes the bottom of Greater Brockley as it travels through Catford and Forest Hill).

The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced today that he will launch a formal policy consultation on a major package of measures to tackle air pollution in London, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the capital.

If mishandled, the implementation of an ULEZ on the South Circular could funnel polluting traffic on to minor roads, but the ULEZ will play a major role in reducing the number of heavily-polluting vehicles on London's streets.

As much as anything, it's just nice to see a Mayor trying to do things other than position himself as the future leader of his party.

Announcing the consultation, the Mayor said: "I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to meet the scale of the challenge.”

Almost 10,000 Londoners die every year because of polluted air according to the latest medical research.  London does not currently meet the legal requirements for pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and new research published by the World Health Organisation just yesterday (12 May 2016) showed that London has breached safe levels of pollutant particles known as PM10.

The proposals in the consultation will include:

•Extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road and the possibility of bringing forward the introduction earlier than 2020. Under current plans the ULEZ will only operate within the Congestion Charging Zone and it is due to come in from 2020.

• Implementing an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London using the Congestion Charge payment and enforcement system from 2017 (this would not mean an increase in the Congestion Charge but just the method for collecting the extra charge from people driving the most polluting vehicles)

•Introducing ULEZ standards for heavy vehicles London-wide from 2020

•Giving the go-ahead for Transport for London (TfL) to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national scheme delivered by the Government

• Proposals to work with the Government to tackle air pollution on a national and international level.

Proposals for TfL to lead by example:

•Introducing self-imposed ULEZ standards a year earlier for TfL double decker buses

•Implementing clean bus corridors – tackling the worst pollution hotspots by concentrating cleaner buses on the dirtiest routes

•Expanding the ULEZ retrofit programme to 3,000 buses outside the central zone (up from 2,000)

•Purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018.