Pollution is so high in the capital, and diesel fumes so damaging, experts believe Boris Johnson will follow Paris’ lead and ban the cars from London’s roads within the decade
London will follow Paris and introduce an outright ban on diesel cars which are causing “serious health damage” in the capital, campaigners warn.
The Mayor of Paris has announced radical plans to ban diesel cars from the French capital by 2020 due to concerns about how much pollution the cars cause.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is also grappling with the issue of how to tackle pollution from the fuels fumes which contain tiny particles and nitrogen oxides and have been increasingly proven to be seriously damaging to health.
France, which has the highest number of diesel cars on the road, will now ban the cars out right with Anne Hidalgo, the Parisian Mayor pledging “an end to diesel in Paris in 2020”.
She also said the city would have more semi-pedestrianised areas with special zones introduced at weekends.
Boris Johnson currently plans to raise the congestion charge for diesel cars by £10 in a move to cut air pollution.
The change would mean diesel drivers could have to pay a total of £20 to get into Central London.
Under the plans petrol cars registered before 2006 would also have to pay extra under the plans which the Mayor wants in place by 2020.
However campaigners say this will not be enough and London will still be following the Parisian example with an outright ban.
Stephen Joseph, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “I think the motor industry is wholly unprepared for the way in which the science is turning against diesels. The sciences is hardening up and it is showing different and serious health damage which is a really serious problem.
“All this emerging science I was going to have wide ranging ramifications, both in terms of the kind of cars we drive and where they are driven.
“London is very polluted and busy. Where Paris goes London won’t be far behind – London is already talking about an ultra low emission zone, banning all sorts of diesel vehicles, this is not unlikely that they will banned altogether in the same way Paris has done.”
In Britain, about 29,000 premature deaths a year are thought to be caused by air pollution and people living in London, Birmingham and Leeds will be exposed to dangerous air pollution from engine fumes until the 2030s unless stricter rules are imposed, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Earlier this year Mr Johnson’ Mayor’s senior advisor for environment and energy Matthew Pencharz, said: “When it comes to tackling London’s air pollution. and protecting the health and well-being of all Londoners, diesel cars are an issue which must be addressed.
“Over recent years the Euro diesel engine standards have not delivered the emission savings expected, yet governments have been incentivising us to buy them. This has left us with a generation of dirty diesels.”
“Cllr Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport spokesperson, said: “This is the third EAC report in five years and scandalously there has been no government action since the last report in 2011.
“Quite clearly our health is being severely damaged by exposure to polluted air caused by traffic emissions particularly from diesel vehicles.”
“The hand wringing has to stop. We need brave political action to tackle our over-dependence on motorised private transport. That means investing seriously in public transport, scrapping the proposed new roads and ensuring that everyone has access to safe convenient networks of walking and cycling routes.”