London introduces “a game changing moment” to slash vehicle emissions

London Mayor Boris Johnson has set his sights on creating the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, a measure which he says could be “a game changing moment in the quality of life in our great capital.”

The mayor’s plan would allow only vehicles carrying a zero or low emission label to enter central London during working hours. Feasibility studies are underway at Transport for London and the scheme could be in place as early as 2020.

“My vision is a central zone where almost all the vehicles running during working hours are either zero or low emission. This would deliver incredible benefits in air quality and stimulate the delivery and mass use of low emission technology,” Mayor Johnson said during a speech at London’s City Hall on February 13.

This new initiative is part of a larger package of ambitious goals set by London’s mayor to tackle air pollution, which includes building Europe’s largest fleet of hybrid buses and introducing a Low Emission Zone for construction machinery (construction sites are responsible for around 12 percent of the city’s NOx emissions).

The Mayor of London’s Environment Advisor, Matthew Pencharz, said: “The Mayor has put together a team that takes air quality seriously and that is why he has confirmed another £20m will be devoted to improving local air quality. He has also brought forward a package of measures that will deliver double the emissions savings originally forecast for phase five of the Low Emission Zone, whilst saving businesses already battling through a tough economic climate from a £350m bill.”

For more on this announcement and other green initiatives in the works for London, a C40 city, click here.

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The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Recognizing that cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, our organization’s global field staff works with city governments, supported by our technical experts across a range of program areas to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg is President of the Board. The Steering Committee includes: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Tokyo.