ULEZ a ‘crucial’ step in the fight for clean air

Press release
But tougher measures and transitional support needed to help all Londoners breathe more easily
  Published:  08 Apr 2019    |      2 minute read

The introduction today of the first phase of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.

But the environmental campaign group says the scheme should be strengthened and is calling for more support to help Londoners adjust to the new scheme, along with additional measures to end the capital’s air pollution crisis.

Friends of the Earth’s air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said:

“With thousands of premature deaths in London every year because of dangerously toxic air it’s clear that tough action is needed to end this health crisis.

“The ULEZ has a crucial role to play in cleaning up the capital’s filthy air – but a strengthened scheme and additional measures are needed to protect the health of all Londoners.

“Restriction on the dirtiest vehicles from the most polluted places must go hand in hand with measures to help people out of their cars, such as cheap and convenient public transport and safer cycling facilities. 

“A national scrappage scheme, substantially funded by the motor manufacturers, should also be introduced to help motorists switch to clean vehicles or get car club membership, rail season tickets or e-bike loans.

“Air pollution is a killer - more cities should follow London’s lead by introducing clean air zones to protect our health.”

Friends of the Earth is also calling for:

  • The future expansion of ULEZ to cover the whole of London – and not just cover the area within the North and South Circular Roads. Current expansion plans would still leave some places over legal limits. The expanded ULEZ should also come in sooner.
  • The scrapping of the Silvertown road tunnel in East London. Some people living in the local area, who are currently suffering unlawful levels of air pollution, would have even worse air quality if the scheme is built.
  • Rapid progress on a Road User Charging or Pay-As-You-Go Driving schemes, and on traffic reduction targets and policies (furthermore, car miles need to be cut by at least a fifth for climate reasons).
  • More clean air zones to be rapidly introduced across the country. These should cover all vehicle types – including cars.

Notes to editors:

  1. An Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) aimed at reducing air pollution is being introduced in central London from 8 April 2019. The zone covers the same area as the Congestion Charge. Most vehicles entering the ULEZ – which covers the same area as the Congestion Charge – will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to drive within the ULEZ area. From 25 October 2021 the ULEZ boundary will be expanded to a larger zone bounded by the North and South Circular Roads.
  2. The ULEZ is set to benefit poorest Londoners most, according to research.