Saturday 17 July 2010

Boris Johnson promotes greater London car dependency and air pollution

The Mayor is proposing to cut the cost of motoring in central London by exempting yet more cars from the congestion charge:

Currently, hybrid and electric cars enter the congestion zone free, but this new move would allow diesel cars that have low CO2 emissions to also enter the zone free. However, campaigners believe this would compound London's air quality problems, as although modern diesel cars emit lower levels of CO2, they emit higher levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and so exacerbate heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Ed Dearnley, policy officer at pollution campaigners Environmental Protection UK, wrote in his submission to the mayor's consultation: "The mayor's proposed 'greener vehicles discount' is misguided, effectively enabling many mass market diesel vehicles free entry to the charging area." The letter continues: "The primary aim for the congestion charge is to tackle congestion, so it is not in the interests of the scheme to exempt a large number of vehicles from having to pay the charge. The results are likely to be an increase in congestion, with knock-on negative impacts on journey times, air quality and ultimately emissions of carbon dioxide."