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London to launch world first for air quality

The first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will launch in the Capital in 2020 improving air quality and people's health.

Following a positive consultation it will start on 7 September 2020, and will reduce the most harmful vehicle exhaust pollutants by more than half.

Vehicles travelling in the Congestion Charge zone in central London will need to meet new emissions standards 24 hours a day, seven days a week or pay a daily charge.

These emission standards have been confirmed more than five years in advance to give sufficient preparation time for affected drivers and accelerate the take up of low-emission vehicles.

Michèle Dix, Managing Director responsible for ULEZ, said: on the health of every person living in this city which is why addressing emissions from road transport is such a priority.

'The ULEZ is a feasible and effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too.

'We believe that giving owners of non-compliant vehicles more than five years to prepare means that they have fair warning to decide whether to change their vehicle to one that meets the emissions standards of the zone or pay a daily charge.'

Residents living in the zone will not need to comply with the emissions standards until September 2023.

Cleaner and greener

As part of the announcement £25million of government funding was pledged to help support London taxi drivers' transition to zero-emission-capable vehicles. This brings the total amount available to help the taxi trade move to cleaner vehicles to £65million.

We are also committed to ensuring that by 2020 all 300 single-decker buses operating in central London are zero-emission, and all 3,000 double-decker buses will be hybrid including 800 New Routemasters.

Pollution solution

The full ULEZ package is expected to halve harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) emissions from vehicle exhausts in central London.

More than 80% of central London would be expected to meet annual EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2020. The number of people living in areas of poor air quality (where levels of NO2 exceed legal limits) would be cut by:

  • 74% in central London
  • 51% in inner London
  • 43% in outer London


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