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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) will apply in the Congestion Zone area of Central London from 8 April 2019. This is 17 months earlier than previously stated when the ULEZ was 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 concept and charge of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London.

The Mayor has held a number of consultations on London's air quality.

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 Toxicity charge (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 will look to consult on the expansion of the ULEZ beyond the central Congestion Charge Zone and is expected to be launched in winter 2017.

Phase 3b

The final stage of the consultation will open in winter 2017 and is expected to consult on the details regarding ULEZ expansion beyond the Congestion Charge Zone.

The proposed ULEZ will not solve London’s air quality issues alone and boroughs are committed to continuing to work with the Mayor to deliver air quality improvements. London Councils will continue to work with the boroughs, TfL, the Mayor's office and other key stakeholders to develop policy proposals that will enable London to become a sustainable, clean and healthy city.


The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, unveiled his plans to introduce an extra financial charge on top of the Congestion Charge back in the summer of 2016. 

Following the consultations mentioned above, in February 2017 the Mayor announced the T-Charge would come into effect on 23 October 2017. It would see a supplementary financial charge of £10 added onto the Congestion Charge on the most polluting diesel and petrol cars. The Mayor set the limits at Euro 4 for petrol and diesel, which essentially means cars registered before 1 January 2005 will have to pay the £10 charge. The T-Charge will operate at the same time and in the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone. This is one of the Mayor’s flagship policies, and is a precursor to the “world’s first” Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to be introduced in April 2019.

You can read London Councils briefing on the T-Charge here.