The Ultra Low Emissions Zone is promoting low-carbon mobility 24/7 in the UK’s capital.
The Ultra Low Emissions Zone, which officially launched in London in April, is now promoting low-carbon mobility 24/7 among city dwellers based on European standards and fees.
The Congestion Charge area of Central London, which is covered by the zone, now has fixed charges for cars and vans that do not meet emissions standards within the zone. For most motorized transport, these include £12.50 a day while driving a vehicle heavier than 3.5 tons, which costs £100 pounds per day.
As a result, for people who prefer walking, biking and driving electric cars, the zone is a great place. It also offers temporary and permanent exemptions for historical cars, vehicles for disabled people, residents’ cars and a few other groups.
With thousands of premature deaths annually in what is among the most carbon-intensive cities in the world, London is an ideal place for such a traffic-free zone. It can help reduce levels of NOx (nitrogen dioxide) and PM (particulate matter), both of which pollutants are known to worsen chronic diseases, shorten lifespans and damage lungs.
Local authorities hope that the zone will improve local air quality, reduce the number of high-emission vehicles in the city and ultimately help to speed up the movement towards a greener transport system.
London’s sustainable transport efforts do not end here. All new buses must meet strict emissions standards, while cleaner taxis and private-hire vehicles are also on the way. Eariler this year the city launched Breathe London, an innovative air monitoring program based on more than 100 stationary and two mobile sensors, which provide real-time and open-access data on urban air quality.
The zone is the first of its kind in the world, although there are similar car-free initiatives elsewhere. Venice is currently Europe’s largest car-free city, while Barcelona, Ghent and many others are treading similar paths, paving the way for less noisy, healthier and more livable cities.