Financial district’s council weighs up pilot scheme that would allow only electric cars and plug-in hybrids on low emission street
Non-electric vehicles could be banned from a “low emission” street in the City of London in a pilot project aimed at cutting air pollution.
London’s financial centre is home to a number of nitrogen dioxide pollution hotspots, which are exacerbated by the area’s tall buildings and narrow streets.
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To combat this, the City of London’s air quality manager, Ruth Calderwood, said the council may introduce an “ultra low emission vehicle” street, onto which only electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) would be allowed.
Calderwood told the Financial Times: “What we realise is the Ultra Low Emission Zone won’t be quite enough for us to meet the limit values, so we are going to have to look at additional measures at our busiest roadsides”.
The London Ultra Low Emission Zone, or ULEZ, is being introduced in April 2019 and will require petrol cars to meet Euro 4 emission standards, with diesels needing to meet those of Euro 6. Owners of cars that do not meet the standards will have to pay an extra fee to enter the Congestion Charge zone, in addition to the standard Congestion Charge.
Areas in the City of London with high nitrogen oxide readings include Walbrook Wharf, which posted an average of 92 micrograms per cubic metre in 2016, and Beech Street, in which 83 micrograms per cubic metre were recorded. The EU annual limit for nitrogen oxide is just of 40 micrograms per cubic metre on average.
Calderwood wouldn’t be drawn on which streets were under consideration for the pilot scheme, telling the FT: “Because we haven’t done that before, it would be a pilot trial on a small street to see how many vehicles will be able to comply with that.” Calderwood added, though, that the council wants “to make sure about the availability of vehicles: we don’t want to introduce something that’s going to be a problem.”
If the pilot scheme goes ahead, the City of London would be following Hackney council, which recently confirmed it would ban cars emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 from certain areas at certain times.
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