Labour’s London Assembly Environment Spokesperson Murad Qureshi today raised questions about the Mayor of London’s planned Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) after Government funding documents suggested the project may be put back until 2025, five years later than was announced.
The Government’s Infrastructure Report, released today, states that the “the Government will provide an additional £10 million between 2017-18 and 2019-20 to increase ultra-low emission vehicles in London, in support of the ambition to introduce an Ultra-Low Emission Zone by 2025.” The Mayor has previously announced that the ULEZ was due to come into effect from 2020.
The uncertainty about the ULEZ timeline comes only two days after Clean Air London released new estimates suggesting that 7,500 Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution in the capital. Prior to this study, it was believed that 4,300 lives were prematurely lost in the capital each year as a result of air pollution. The new figures include analysis of the impact of additional categories of pollutants which are known to be detrimental to public health. This also follows the news that the Government will be forced to take action in improving air quality following a ruling at the European Court of Justice last month.
Mr Qureshi will be writing to both the Mayor and Chancellor to request urgent clarification on the timeline for the introduction of London’s ULEZ amid concerns that the project is to be put back from its 2020 target date.
London Assembly Labour Group’s Environment spokesman Murad Qureshi AM said:
“It’s bad enough that Boris Johnson plans to leave tackling air pollution to his successor to deal with. If the Government are now holding funding back until 2025 and delaying the planned 2020 introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone then Londoners will know exactly who to blame for the decade of toxic air pollution to come.
“With air pollution estimated to contribute to the premature death of 7,500 Londoners each year, cutting air pollution should be at the top of the Mayor and Government’s to do list. As it stands this announcement suggests a dangerously negligent indifference to tackling London’s silent killer.”