The new Mayor of London has announced his plans to introduce a new T-Charge” to reduce toxic pollution in central London from next year.
Sadiq Khan will try to pile the charges for the most polluting vehicles on top of the congestion charge, and further extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), planned to come into force from 2020.
It could run city-wide, from the North Circular to the South Circular, in ambitious plans - meaning that cars and trucks that fail to comply will have to pay £12.50 per day to travel in the zone.
A consultation will begin in the coming weeks on the proposals, but Mr Khan says he is acting with urgency, as pollution is thought to be causing over 9,000 deaths a year in the capital.
Mr Khan told the Evening Standard: "We need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge.
“I have been elected with a clear mandate to clean up London’s air – our biggest environmental challenge.
“In the past, London has only responded after an emergency, like with the Clean Air Act, which followed the Great London Smogs of the 1950s.
“But I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge.”
Mr Khan also announced that he would cancel the contracts for the Routemaster buses brought in be his predecessor Boris Johnson, saying he would bring in greener vehicles instead.
Professor Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, said however that the proposals were “too little and too late to provide the improvements in air quality that London needs”.
He added: “The new Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s, announcement that he will launch a formal policy consultation in a matter of weeks on a major package of measures to tackle air pollution is therefore very welcome news.”
Earlier this year we reported how campaigners announced that London needed to implement emergency restrictions on diesel vehicles, as the capital suffered a “very high” 10/10 particle pollution episode.
Simon Birkett, founder and director of the campaign organisation Clean Air in London, told road.cc diesel engines, which produce 90-95% of the most dangerous particulates and gases, need to be targeted during episodes of high air pollution.
He says people weren't sufficiently warned of the event in March, where particulates reached the maximum 10/10 score (link is external), or encourage people not to drive in the city centre, where vehicle exhaust is compounding a national air pollution spike.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.