New Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has unveiled new plans to tackle air quality within London.
The proposals will include a strategy to implement a diesel scrappage scheme; create an Ultra-Low Emission Zone standard for heavy vehicles in the capital earlier than planned; and introduce an extra charge penalty on the heaviest polluting vehicles entering central London using the Congestion Charge payment from 2017.
The Freight Transport Association has greeted the news of the new air quality plans with “extreme caution”.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, stated: ”It should be remembered that air quality has already improved substantially in the capital, and will continue to improve further – even if London does nothing. These disruptive proposals will at best only accelerate the situation that is likely in a few years from now. They will put businesses at risk, and add massive costs to all – especially to those who need the services that vans provide.
“Freight operators and the service industry could find themselves being charged extra for their vehicles before they have had any reasonable chance to upgrade. Many businesses could lose trade first in central London, then the whole of inner London – and for businesses based in the zones involved, the impacts will be even worse.”
Sadiq Khan said: “I have been elected with a clear mandate to clean up London’s air – our biggest environmental challenge.
“The previous Mayor was too slow on this issue and the Government has been hopelessly inactive and it’s Londoners who are suffering as a result.
“We need to speed up our efforts, so I’ll be launching a consultation before the summer to kick-start the process. As well as my proposals, I’ll be seeking views on other ways we can do more to clean up the city’s air.”