The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced moves to ban virtually all vehicles from the centre of London unless they are so-called 'zero' emissions or low emissions models.
The authority which oversees the city of Westminster has for many years operated a daily tax on vehicles entering an area of London which it terms the Congestion Zone. The levy was introduced by the previous mayor as a means of funding the operations of the Authority, which originally had no other large scale way of generating income.
Mayor Johnson is proposing the creation of what he terms an Ultra Low Emissions Zone from 2020. This would mean only ZEVs and ULEVs (electric cars and commercial vehicles, as well as hybrids and plug-in hybrids running on their batteries) would be allowed to enter an inner section of the Congestion Zone during working hours.
"Creating the world's first big city ultra low emission zone has the potential to be a game changing moment in the quality of life of our great capital. 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," a statement from Johnson reads.
As part of the new measures, an additional 600 hybrid buses are to introduced to London by 2016, meaning some 1,600 such vehicles will be on the streets of the capital. A study into how ZEV or ULEV taxis can be added is also planned.
Changes to phase five of London's Low Emission Zone have also been detailed. Due for introduction in 2015, this scheme was intended to ensure that buses, coaches and HGVs would be subject to emissions restrictions. However, the mayor has backtracked, stating that they will now only apply to Transport for London's fleet of buses.
Author: Glenn Brooks