Central London is to be the world's first ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) from September 7, 2020, city major Boris Johnson has announced.
Vehicles travelling in the congestion charge zone will have to meet new emission standards at all times - or pay a daily charge.
The announcement follows consideration of more than 16,000 responses received during the ULEZ consultation from the public, businesses and stakeholders. The majority (79%) of respondents said it was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to tackle poor air quality in London and 58% said they ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ the introduction of the ULEZ.
The ULEZ will require:
•Cars and small vans – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from September 1, 2015 so five years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from January 1, 2006 so 14 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles could still drive in the zone but they will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.
•Large vans and minibuses – Euro 6 for diesel engines (registered from 1 September 1, 2016 so four years old or less in 2020) and Euro 4 for petrol engines (registered from January 1, 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.
•Heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches – Euro 6 (registered from January 1, 2014 so six years old or less in 2020 except TfL buses which are required to meet a higher standard). Non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £100.
•Motorcycles and similar vehicles – Euro 3 (registered from July 1, 2007 so 13 years old or less in 2020). Non-compliant vehicles will be required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.
The Mayor and Transport for London said that they have intentionally confirmed the ULEZ five years in advance of its introduction to give sufficient warning and preparation time for affected drivers, as well as to accelerate the take up of low emission vehicles and stimulate the low emission vehicle market.
Residents living in the ultra low emission zone will have a three year ‘sunset period’, meaning that they do not need to comply with the emissions standards until September 2023.
An extra £25 million from the government will be used to provide grants to help taxi drivers cover the cost of upgrading to a greener vehicle. This is in addition to £40m already committed by the mayor to help taxi drivers whose vehicles would be affected by tighter age limits to replace the oldest, most polluting taxis.
Johnson reiterated his commitment that from January 2018 all new taxis and all private hire vehicles under 18 months old requiring licensing in the capital for the first time should be zero emission capable.
Detailed plans for the new rapid charging network in London, on which TfL is working with boroughs and taxi and private hire trade organisations, are expected to be published later this year.
TfL will continue to lobby the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for further funding from its £500m funding pot to support the uptake of zero emission capable vehicles and put in place supporting charging infrastructure.
Michele Dix, managing director of planning at TfL, said: “London’s air quality has an impact on the health of every person living in this city which is why addressing emissions from road transport is such a priority.
"The ULEZ is a feasible and effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too.
"We believe that giving owners of non-compliant vehicles more than five years to prepare means that they have fair warning to decide whether to change their vehicle to one that meets the emissions standards of the zone or pay a daily charge.”
Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' chief executive, said: "The London ULEZ will play a key role in driving the market for ultra low emission vehicles in Europe's leading mega city, and set a precedent not only in the UK but around the world.
"The SMMT supports this vision and wants to see London meet its air quality and climate change targets, while driving innovation and supporting jobs.
"We are pleased to see the mayor has recognised that the latest diesel technology has a place in an Ultra Low Emissions Zone. It is only by encouraging motorists to invest in the latest, lowest emission technology, regardless of vehicle or fuel type, that the mayor's vision be fully realised."