A press release from the Greater London Authority has outlined ambitious plans by Boris Johnson to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone for London. The purpose would be to ensure that any vehicles travelling within central London would be either hybrid, zero or low-emission from 2020.
Presumably any other vehicles seen in the zone would be subject to a penalty fine. Whether this is a £120 PCN as issued by TfL now, or the much larger fines of £500-£1000 for the current Low Emission Zone would be decided after a public consultation.
The mayor was quoted as saying:
“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.”
It’s probably no coincidence that this announcement was made close to the 10-year anniversary of the Congestion Charge scheme. It will be interesting to see whether the plan does go ahead, or whether it meets too much opposition from Londoners. After all, they are likely to bear the costs in terms of vehicle ownership, as well as the potential benefits of an improvement in air quality.