A review into London's spiralling air pollution issues will be in a matter of weeks, along with proposals to tackle them with a series of drastic changes, according to Sadiq Khan.
The new Mayor of London announced during a visit to Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School in Aldgate that he wants to "act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to meet the scale of the challenge.”
According to the latest medical research by King's College London, almost 10,000 Londoners die every year because of polluted air.
As it stands, the city does not meet the legal requirements for pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and in a new report published by the World Health Organisation, they claim London has breached safe levels of pollutant particles known as PM10.
Sadiq Khan said: “I have been elected with a clear mandate to clean up London’s air – our biggest environmental challenge.
“I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I only recently started suffering from asthma as an adult.
"Many pollution hotspots in London are around schools, exposing our children to dangerously polluted air and putting them at greater risk of respiratory conditions like mine."
What will the new proposals include?
1. Extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be extended to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road. There is also the possibility of bringing forward the introduction earlier than 2020.
Under current plans the ULEZ will only operate within the Congestion Charging Zone and it is due to come in from 2020.
2. Implementing an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles
Vehicles which are most polluted and are entering central London will be charged using the Congestion Charge payment and enforcement system from 2017 (this would not mean an increase in the Congestion Charge but just the method for collecting the extra charge from people driving the most polluting vehicles).
3. Vehicles London-wide to be included in Ultra Low Emission Zone
From 2020, the propsals are putting forward plans to introduce ULEZ standards for heavy vehicles London-wide from 2020.
4. Implement a diesel scrappage scheme in London
Giving the go-ahead for Transport for London (TfL) to start work on the costs of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national scheme delivered by the Government.
What proposals will TfL have to consider in the Mayor's plans?
1. TfL buses to have ULEZ standards introduced a year earlier
Introducing self-imposed ULEZ standards a year earlier for TfL double decker buses.
2. "Clean bus corridors" to be put in place
Implementing clean bus corridors – tackling the worst pollution hotspots by concentrating cleaner buses on the dirtiest routes.
3. Only zero emission buses to be bought from 2018
Purchasing only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018.
4. 3,000 buses outside the central zone to be included in Ultra Low Emission Zone programme
Expanding the ULEZ retrofit programme to 3,000 buses outside the central zone (up from 2,000).
'In the past, London has only responded after an emergency'
The Labour Mayor, in his announcement, added: “The previous Mayor was too slow on this issue and the government has been hopelessly inactive and it’s Londoners who are suffering as a result.
"We need to speed up our efforts so I’ll be launching a consultation before the summer to kick-start the process.
"As well as my proposals, I’ll be seeking views on other ways we can do more to clean up the city’s air.
“In the past, London has only responded after an emergency, like with the Clean Air Act, which followed the Great London Smogs of the 1950s.
"But I want to act before an emergency, which is why we need big, bold and sometimes difficult policies if London is to match the scale of the challenge.”