To shield the citizens of the city from lethal air pollution, London Mayor Sadiq Khan established the first 24-hour Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the city’s center in 2019.
Infractions of the ULEZ included 12.50 in fines for automobiles whose emissions were above the limit. Khan extended the zone two years later to cover all of inner London inside the North and South Circular Road limits.
Months before Khan prepares to increase it once more, a new peer-reviewed assessment from the mayor’s office reveals that the program has been successful.
As a Former Attorney, I Simply Enjoy Examining the Proof.
Khan informed the Evening Standard of the study, “The evidence is clear as day. The Ulez is the city’s most successful air quality control measure to date.
- The number of older, highly polluting, non-compliant vehicles in the zone fell by nearly 60 percent since the ULEZ was expanded.
- Nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions fell by 23 percent across all of London since 2019 compared to what they would have been without the ULEZ. Within the ULEZ, NOX emissions fell by 26 percent.
- Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions fell by seven percent over the four years across all of London compared to what they would have been without the ULEZ. PM2.5 emissions fell by 19 percent within the ULEZ itself.
- Carbon dioxide emissions fell by three percent across London since 2019 and four percent within the ULEZ.
- NOX concentrations were 21 percent lower than they would have been without the ULEZ in inner London and 46 percent lower in central London.
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions did not return to pre-pandemic levels when traffic increased, suggesting the impact of the ULEZ.
- Average PM2.5 levels have fallen by 41 percent in inner and central London since 2017.
The Report’s Principal Findings Included That
The ULEZ has not been the only factor in pollution reduction. In London, a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for bigger cars was introduced in 2008 before the ULEZ, and its rules were modified in 2021. In general, cars are getting cleaner.
It is becoming more difficult to separate the effects of each individual policy on air pollution concentrations in the various areas of London as time goes on and NO2 concentrations continue to decline as a result of Mayoral policies, local authority initiatives, and the natural churn of the vehicle fleet.
Many of the Mayor’s other policies, such as the expansion of the zero-emission bus and taxi fleets, will have had good effects on concentrations in addition to the ULEZ and LEZ, the study’s authors noted. This is especially true in central and inner London.
For instance, despite the fact that buses operated by Transport for London were exempt from the ULEZ, NOX emissions decreased by 70% overall, the biggest reduction of any vehicle class.
By August 29, 2023, Khan has stated that he wants to extend the ULEZ to all of London’s boroughs.
According to BBC News, Khan stated, “As mayor, I just won’t accept that the five million residents of outer London shouldn’t be able to benefit from the same life-saving health effects that ULEZ has already brought to the rest of our city. “Clean air is a human right for everyone to breathe.”
But not everyone supports the proposed extension. Eleven outside London municipalities have voiced worry that the policy will put citizens in locations where the air quality is already better than inner London through unnecessary financial hardship.
According to City Hall Conservatives’ transportation spokesman Nick Rogers, Sadiq Khan’s Ulez extension will have no impact on the quality of the air in outer London while disproportionately harming low-income and vulnerable households.
Sadiq Khan needs to pay attention to Londoners, abandon his expansion plans, and use the money to fund air pollution control measures.
However, the report has addressed one of the primary issues raised by ULEZ critics.
Many individuals worry that vehicles will simply detour around low-emission zones, deteriorating the air quality for residents near the edges. Data from London’s air pollution measurement network, however, indicate that this has not actually occurred.
Instead, nitrogen dioxide along the North and South Circular roads has significantly improved, according to Dr. Gry Fuller, a specialist in urban air pollution at Imperial College London, who peer-reviewed the study, as quoted by The Guardian.
A lot of cities in the UK and around the world want to emulate London. The evidence presented here, in my opinion, will enhance the design of comparable programs more generally.