London mulls pollution charge on diesel vehicles

Jul 29, 2014
London may introduce a charge on polluting diesel vehicles that enter the centre of the British capital, in a bid to meet EU rules, mayor Boris Johnson says

London may introduce a charge on polluting diesel vehicles that enter the centre of the British capital, in a bid to meet EU rules, mayor Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

The fee would be on the lines of the "congestion charge" for all vehicles entering central London, which is currently £11.50 a day ($19.50, 14.50 euros), a spokesman said.

The plan is part of a new Brussels-compliant Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) being introduced in London from 2020, which Conservative Johnson announced last year.

"You have to have a charge that makes a difference. We've got to get our air quality better," he told BBC radio, adding that "the price for that is up for consultation".

"We've got a big air quality problem in London, like many other big cities around the world, we've got people dying prematurely, we're in breach of European guidelines."

A spokesman for Johnson told AFP that as part of consultations on air pollution "one option is to bring in a charge for high polluting vehicles on similar level to the congestion charge."

Only diesel vehicles meeting new EU emissions standards will be exempt from the fee, while petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay, officials said.

London's charge was introduced in 2003 by Johnson's predecessor Ken Livingstone in order to ease pressure on the city's roads.

The emission zone is aimed at getting London two-thirds of the way to meeting strict air pollution targets set by Brussels.

Explore further: Traffic-related air pollution a substantial public health concern

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shusa2013
not rated yet Jul 30, 2014
The new clean diesel technology has dramatically reduced NOx, PM and sulfur emissions.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe paper entitled "Diesel Engine Exhausts: Myths and Realities" concluded:
". . . we conclude with a high degree of reliability that it is misleading to claim that people's exposure to diesel engines of road motor vehicles is the cause of increased risk of lung cancer" and more than 83% of PM in Europe and 97% in the U.S. are from other sectors.

A 2nd paper supported by agencies including the EU commission concludes: "Cars and trucks, particularly diesel vehicles, are thought to be the main vehicular pollution sources. This needs re-thinking, as we show that elevated particulate matter levels can be a consequence of 'asymmetric pollution' from two-stroke scooters…"

In addition, in its 2014 "State of the Air" report, the American Lung Association cited the new clean diesel fleet as one of the two primary reasons for improved air quality in the U.S.