London boroughs to impose ultra-low emission zones

All but the cleanest vehicles to be banned from nine streets in Islington and Hackney


Two London councils are to ban all but the cleanest vehicles from some areas at peak times to help tackle the city’s air pollution crisis.

In the UK’s first scheme of its kind, only ultra-low emission vehicles such as electric cars, e-bikes, and the newest hybrids and hydrogen vehicles will be allowed on nine streets in Hackney and Islington from 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm on weekdays.

From 3 September, drivers of petrol, diesel and older hybrid vehicles will incur a fine if they travel into the CCTV-monitored areas.

The scheme is an attempt to “reclaim the streets” from polluting vehicles and improve quality of life in an area with among the worst air quality in London.

“Failing to act on poor air quality, which causes nearly 10,000 premature deaths across London every year, is not an option, and that’s why we’re being bolder than ever in our efforts to tackle it,” said Feryal Demirci, the deputy mayor of Hackney.

“We’re thrilled to be launching our ultra-low emissions streets – the first of their kind in the UK – which will reclaim the streets from polluting petrol and diesel vehicles, and improve the area for thousands of people every day.”

Similar initiatives could become more common across the UK as awareness of the effects of poor air quality increases.

“Our ultimate goal is to reclaim the streets from polluting motor vehicles – this groundbreaking scheme is the first step towards doing that,” Demirci said in March when the scheme was announced.

The original scheme was backed by 70% of people living within 10km of the affected roads, while 56% of respondents to a more recent consultation said they were in favour.

Claudia Webbe, Islington council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “Air pollution is a huge issue for Islington residents… and we are proud to be leading from the front to tackle this life or death issue.

“This ground-breaking proposal for ‘electric streets’ – the first of its kind in the UK – will prioritise low-pollution transport such as electric cars and cut polluting vehicles during peak hours in the streets surrounding Central Foundation Boys school in Islington – the most polluted state secondary in London.”

The ban on polluting vehicles comes as Hackney council announced plans to install around 180 electric vehicle charging points, in addition to the existing 22 across the borough, in the next year.

The ultra-low emissions streets initiative is partially funded by the mayor of London’s air quality fund and the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

via London boroughs to impose ultra-low emission zones | Environment | The Guardian

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