Mayor's action on air quality

This section highlights the work London Councils has done in relation to the Mayor's air quality work programme.

  • By Owain Mortimer

Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) went live on 8 April 2019. The ULEZ, which covers the Congestion Zone area of Central London, was introduced 17 months earlier than previously stated when originally announced in 2015. 

The ULEZ will restrict the types of cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses and Heavy Goods Vehicles that can enter the zone without paying an additional daily charge. TfL is also taking action to reduce emissions from buses in the ULEZ and carrying out further consultation on restrictions on taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs). We support the introdcution of the central London ULEZ. The scheme replaces the T-Charge which was a temporary measure acting as a bridge to the more stringent ULEZ.

The Mayor held a number of consultations on London's air quality, to which London Councils responded. Below is an overview of the various stages of the consultation and our submissions.

Phase 1

In July 2016 the Mayor of London announced the beginning of a three-phase consultation seeking Londoners on way his proposals to improve London's air quality.

The first phase of the consultation was an online survey on general ideas to tackle the issue of air pollution. London Councils set out its views on the ULEZ, diesel scrappage scheme and T-Charge. Our full response can be read here

Phase 2

The second phase was a statutory consultation to introduce the T-Charge, and a non-statutory consultation on the details around the proposed ULEZ. London Councils noted its support for the T-Charge and commented on the details of the scheme, including on the planned exemptions and operating times. Read the full response here.

Phase 3a

The third phase of the consultation is split into two sections, 3a and 3b. Phase 3a consulted on bringing the start date of the ULEZ forward five months to April 2019. It also sought to strengthen the emission standards to include particulate matter (PM) alongside nitrogen dioxide (NO2). You can view London Councils' response here

Phase 3b

The final stage of the consultation focused on the epxansion of the ULEZ beyond the Congestion Charge Zone to the north and south circular roads in October 2021. The consultation also focuses on tightening the environmental standards of the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). London Councils support direct action to tackle London's dangerous air pollution, and London's boroughs have been leading efforts on this for years. London Councils supports the principle of a wider Ultra Low Emission Zone, but highlights some concerns with the practicalities of the proposed border. You can view London Councils' full response to the final stage of the Mayor's air quality consultation, here.

Mayor's Air Quality Fund

Improving air quality and tackling the health impacts of pollution requires collaborative effort from many different organisations. Whilst it is not something that London's local authorities can tackle on their own, they take the lead in delivering many different air quality projects, including those funded through the Mayor's Air Quality Fund (MAQF) - the third round of which was recently announced by the Mayor (7 June 2019).

You can view information about the new round of projects to be funded, and information about the MAQF here