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Should London follow in Paris’ footsteps? Banning older vehicles from the road

London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan has chosen to make an early stand on air pollution in the capital. He recently unveiled a radical raft of measures to crack down on the issue, including a headline-grabbing ‘T-charge’.

The £10 toxicity levy will apply to any vehicle with pre-Euro 4 emission standards, which is roughly all of those registered before 2005. This is over and above the existing £11.50 congestion charge and will be introduced next year.

He launched the policy on the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, which famously attempted to tackle the smog suffered in the capital. Khan said: “Just as in the 1950s, air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners. But unlike the smoky pollution of the past, today’s pollution is a hidden killer. Urgent action is now needed to ensure Londoners no longer have to fear the very air we breathe.”

Is this enough? How Paris has banned older vehicles

London is not the only major city on a mission to clean up its air. Just across the Channel, Paris introduced a new law to try to tackle its emissions and congestion.

In the French capital, the new law will—as highlights—see any cars produced before 1997 banned from the city centre during weekdays. Similarly, motorcycles registered before 1999 won’t be allowed in.

It’s thought that about one in ten cars will be affected by the ban and that, by 2020, it will extend to all vehicles registered before 2010. Paris’ proposals follow a lead set by Berlin, Milan and Rome to kick out polluting vehicles.

paris old cars air pollution ban

No ban—but consultation calls for further measures

It seems, however, that London is not going to follow suit. On top of the T-charge, Sadiq Khan also launched a consultation on a number of measures that will be explored instead of this course of action.

The Mayor wants to:

  • introduce the new central London Ultra Low Emission Zone a year ahead of schedule in 2019. This is a section of central London that will demand a certain level of emission standards and any vehicles not meeting those will be forced to pay £12.50 a day, or £100 for lorries, coaches and buses
  • extend the zone even further by 2020
  • force all double-decker buses in London to comply with the emission requirements by 2019
  • allocate ‘clean’ buses to the worst polluted areas
  • plan for a scrappage scheme to rid the roads of diesel vehicles across the nation

Khan is keen to go green

A ban, then, isn’t on the table but plenty of other proposals are. It is clear that the new Mayor wants to get stuck into the issue of air pollution very early into his term. It means that motorists will need to pay very close attention to the emissions of the vehicles they browse in car dealerships or on sites such as LeaseCar if they are to drive in central London.

Equally, this proposal might be the push factor that drivers need to ditch an older, badly performing model for a new lease or purchase. In either case, a ban would be rendered unnecessary. Only time will tell how successful the new Mayor is and how his plan measures up to the Paris approach.

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