The RAC’s roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: “The principal of the original Ultra Low Emission Zone scheme was to balance the need to tackle poor air quality, and give motorists sufficient time to replace their more polluting vehicles. Bringing this forward, and introducing an extra charging scheme next year, may set alarm bells ringing for motorists and businesses who rely on their diesel vehicles every day.
“It is good to see the Mayor has recognised the need to provide incentives to vehicle owners to trade in more polluting vehicles, however studies into a diesel scrappage scheme suggest it could be expensive with relatively little benefit.
“Surely the Mayor should be setting a more ambitious target to replace polluting buses and taxis as early as possible. Some of the areas in London where air pollution is at its worst are routes heavily used by these vehicles. It is also important to remember that congestion can exacerbate pollution levels, so we would urge the Mayor to look at ways to get London’s traffic moving as data shows average speeds are decreasing, which could be compounding the problem.”