Camden Green Party's response to the Mayor’s proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone

30 December 2014

Natalie Bennett and Jean Lambert MEP call for cleaner air in LondonWe are calling for the zone to be larger, and cover the whole of Camden, with much higher penalties and an earlier start date. Send in your response by 9 January.

The questionnaire on Transport for London’s website only takes 5 minutes to complete

Our response submitted to Transport for London:

We believe the proposals cover too small an area, are too weak to properly protect the health of people in Camden and throughout inner London, and are being brought in far too late.

The ULEZ needs to be extended beyond the current boundaries of the Congestion Charge zone to include at least all inner London boroughs, and the whole of Camden. Currently the Congestion Charge area only includes a small part of the southern end of our borough. London-wide, restricting the ULEZ to just the current Congestion Charge zone only covers 7% of the main road network which is set to be over the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limit in 2020.

In 2013, Camden Green Party measured NO2 pollution to be up to twice the legal limit at traffic hotspots in Highgate Ward in the north of the borough, and dangerous levels of pollution were only not breached on Hampstead Heath itself, with all our residential streets measured at more than the legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

This pattern of pollution we measured, well outside the Congestion Charge zone, is likely to be mirrored throughout Camden, with severe health effects on our residents. Therefore we believe that excluding these areas simply for the convenience of using existing Congestion Charge infrastructure to monitor vehicles is inexcusable. 

The proposals also do not provide a sufficient deterrent for the most polluting vehicles, putting forward a levy of just £12.50 on diesel cars and vans entering the ULEZ from 2020 onwards. Over a quarter of cars are now diesel, but they account for 60% of NO2 emissions across London.

We ask for the ULEZ charge for non-compliant vehicles to be much higher – at the level of a penalty charge – in order to effectively create a ban on diesel cars in London.  The charge level for HGVs and other large vehicles should also be higher than £100, in order to provide much larger incentives for freight consolidation and switching goods to smaller, cleaner vehicles before taking them into central London.

Reliance on the Euro test standards is also very problematic, since test results in city driving conditions show that even Euro 6 standard vehicles emit health-damaging particulate material and do not match test-track indications of emission reductions. We propose that the ULEZ prohibitions apply to all diesel vehicles until a reliable way of reducing the harmful emissions of these vehicles is found.

Finally, the Green Party believes that initiating the ULEZ in 2020 is far too late and we ask the Mayor to bring forward its implementation in order to help the thousands of people a year in London who are dying prematurely as a result of breathing polluted air. There is time to both bring in the infrastructure needed to extend the size of the zone and tighten its provisions, even with an earlier start date.

A wider zone, more stringent standards and an earlier start date are the only credible ways the Mayor can fulfil the requirements of the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice that requires authorities in the UK to take action to achieve nitrogen dioxide limits “as soon as possible”.


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