Hackney Council would support a blanket ban on diesel vehicles in order to tackle toxic air pollution in the borough, says the Town Hall’s transport lead.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, said London Mayor Sadiq Khan was not being “ambitious enough” with his environmental policy, and if he were to impose a London-wide ban on diesel cars then the Council would back his plans.
The Labour-led administration is consulting on whether to recommend diesel cars – which emit 10x more harmful nitrous oxide fumes than buses – be prohibited from local roads.
It is now conducting a review into the air quality in the borough, which may recommend diesel vehicles be banned entirely.
Being serious about air pollution, means joining up all the dots. Don’t build new road in first place but if you do, then no toll discounts. https://t.co/lkxfvl8SMJ
— Caroline Russell (@CarolineRussell) March 14, 2017
Cllr Ian Rathbone, a member of the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission, which is conducting the review, said:
“We need to stop licensing diesel cars but there is only so much as a borough we can do, there needs to be an intervention at a national level. We (Hackney) have some of the worst air quality in London.
“I was shocked to find how polluting diesel cars actually are. They have to go.”
The Council does not have the power to unilaterally ban diesel vehicles but any recommendation can act as a powerful lobbying tool to the Mayor of London.
Neighbouring Islington became the first council last week to call on Sadiq Khan to ban diesel vehicles from London’s streets.
Although Hackney has not yet gone as far, it recently announced that diesel vehicles applying for a year-long parking permit will incur a £50 levy fee on top of the total sum – demonstrating its determination to tackle the issue.
Cllr Demirci said: “We encourage them (diesel owners) to look at greener, less polluting vehicles and we are moving our own fleet away from diesel where possible.
“We would support a London wide diesel ban if the Mayor of London were to introduce it.”
Visiting Brixton Rd. Looks pretty ordinary but actually air monitor almost recorded year’s pollution allowance in 1 day. Need to cut diesel. pic.twitter.com/qBE8Xnn61G
— Caroline Russell (@CarolineRussell) January 6, 2017
Campaigners argue that air pollution exposure leads to more than 9,400 premature deaths in London every year, with diesel fumes making up about 40 per cent of all emissions.
There have been calls for London to follow the likes of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City, which have pledged to ban diesel vehicles by 2025.
In the short-term, however, Hackney Council has called on Sadiq Khan to extend the ultra-low emission zone to cover the borough.
Due to come into force in 2019, the ultra low-emission zone will introduce a daily charge in certain parts of London: £12.50-100 for vehicles that do not meet exhaust emission standards — or face a fine up to £1,000 for coaches or buses.
After a consultation it was decided the low emission zone, currently operational in central London, was to be extended to the North and South Circular. However, the council says this should be extended to cover Hackney.
We need a new Environment Act to guarantee environmental protections are strengthened, not weakened, after Brexit. https://t.co/rCGMp1cI5e
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) March 14, 2017
Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “We do not feel a zone which stops at the North and South Circular, cutting through boroughs and town centres is ambitious enough.
“We would like to see a London wide Ultra Low Emissions Zone and a clear commitment to progressively tightening the restrictions so we do more than simply meet the national air quality objectives.”
Transport for London statistics show a London-wide low emissions scheme, including outer boroughs, would lead to 27 per cent lower emissions across the capital.
(Photo on top by David Holt)