London’s motorists have been warned that they face “aggressive action" and that "diesel is being targeted" as Transport For London (TfL) and the Mayor of London set out a strategy to eliminate vehicle emissions by 2050.
The long-term goal of a zero-emissions London is the headline target in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recently published Transport Strategy, which is open to consultation until October.
Speaking at a Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership in London today, Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for environment and energy, warned that action to clean-up London’s air required “aggressive action”.
“Business as usual is not possible. We want to avoid making the mistakes of the past and we must tackle the challenge together,” she said.
Owners of older diesel cars are already being lined up to be penalised by a new Toxicity Charge, due to be introduced in October. This will penalise drivers of pre-2006 diesels in the centre of London with a new levy on top of the existing congestion charge. “This will be the toughest emission standard of any major city,” claimed Rodrigues.
“We are targeting diesel,” she added, “because 90% of NOx emissions come from road transport.”
However, many diesel drivers feel that they bought the vehicles in good faith, with the encouragement of successive governments.
“Government policy to encourage diesel is regrettable,” she admitted.
Looking forward more than 30 years to 2050, Rodrigues said: “For all vehicles that remain, we will take London’s entire road transport fleet to zero-carbon emissions by 2050.”