Plans from the Mayor of London for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone and a crack down on the highest polluting vehicles in order to improve air quality in the capital have been backed in record numbers by London residents.
Sadiq Khan has today published consultation results obtaining the views of a record 15,000 Londoners – the highest number of responses to a City Hall consultation ever. Londoners gave him their overwhelming support on a bold and comprehensive package of measures to tackle air quality in London.
The Mayor is leading the way in taking urgent action to help end London’s ‘public health emergency’ after revealing that the equivalent of almost 9,500 Londoners die from long-term exposure to air pollution every year and 443 schools in the capital are in areas exceeding safe air quality levels.
The consultation, which ran from 5 July to 29 July, revealed that 79 per cent of Londoners consulted supported Sadiq’s proposal to bring the Ultra Low Emission Zone forward to 2019 and that 71 per cent believe it should be expanded to the North and South Circular.
Consultation results indicate widespread support for the Mayor’s call to Government for a diesel scrappage scheme to help Londoners switch away from the most polluting cars.
There is even stronger support for implementing an early £10 Emissions Surcharge (dubbed the ‘T-charge’) on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from 2017. The consultation found 81 per cent supported the charge, which would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emissions standards – typically those registered before 2005 – and will cost an extra £10 per day on top of the existing Congestion Charge.
Other results of the consultation show that:
- The majority of Londoners believe air pollution is a problem in the capital, particularly in central London.
- 87 per cent want the ULEZ to be expanded further and 60 per cent London-wide for heavier commercial vehicles.
- Londoners want to be better informed and alerted when pollution is at its worst.
Since the consultation, the Mayor has already implemented a new programme of air quality advice and alerts following strong demand from Londoners. On the day before high and very high air pollution days, alerts will now be displayed on road signs, at bus stops and station entrances.
Sadiq Khan said:
Cleaning up the capital’s killer air has to be a major priority
“A record number of Londoners responded to our consultation, which demonstrates they feel just as strongly as I do that cleaning up the capital’s killer air has to be a major priority.
“The equivalent of 9,500 Londoners die each year as a result of the air they breathe in our city, I refuse to sit back and do nothing. Both the previous Mayor and the Government failed to get their act together to meet legal pollution limits and that’s why I have put forward some bold, hard-hitting measures to tackle this issue head on. I will consider the consultation findings in more detail before deciding on the next steps.
“Londoners were clear they supported my proposals, with a clear majority in favour of not only introducing the ULEZ earlier in 2019, but extending it beyond central London. They are also strongly in favour of the T charge-charge and most importantly, Londoners were clear that Government needs to do its bit to help meet the new ULEZ standards and that it should fund a scrappage scheme. Government now needs to listen to Londoners and work with me to deliver a national diesel scrappage scheme.”
The outcome of this consultation is being used by City Hall officials to shape the next round, which will start next month. The next round, which will be for 10 weeks, will include a more detailed and specific consultation on the T-charge reflecting comments made in the first round – ready for implementing in 2017.
The Mayor has instructed TfL to take the lead by stepping up its bus retrofit programme and introducing the first of a series of ‘Low Emission Bus Zones’ – prioritising the greenest buses on the worst polluted routes. The Mayor has also said he only wants TfL to procure hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018. On the 9 September two new all-electric bus routes were launched using 51 all-electric single deck buses. This takes the number of electric buses in use in London to 73, making it the largest electric bus fleet in Europe.
Commenting on the record number of respondents to the Mayor of London’s air pollution consultation, Simon Alcock, campaigner for ClientEarth, said:
We urge the Mayor to seize this opportunity to put London on the path towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future
“It is hugely significant that a record number of Londoners have responded to the Mayor’s consultation because it highlights just how engaged the city is in the pollution crisis. It shows that there is real strength of feeling for ambitious action to clean up London’s toxic and illegal air.”
“We urge the Mayor to seize this opportunity to put London on the path towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future. He now needs to go further and faster to meet his legal and moral obligations to protect the people of London from harmful air pollution.”
“We look forward to the next round of consultation, where we hope to see the full details of a significantly more ambitious Ultra Low Emission Zone proposal.”
Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family
When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?
What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?
As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.
Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.
5 Good Options
As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:
1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country
Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.
3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.
5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel
If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?
Putting it All Together
You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.
You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life
Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense. But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?
For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out. A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession. This bigger issue was that of climate change. And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.
Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more. He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland. There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.
The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done. With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet. The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind. As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness. The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small. The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty. As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.
We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help. And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet. Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change. You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed. But so is he. Every change starts with one.
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