London’s pay-as-you-pollute system is now alive and kicking, with Ken Livingston taking the wraps off the captials’ Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which will penalise polluting truckers. Says the Transport for London:
In London, road transport is the single biggest source of Particulate Matter (PM10) and oxides of Nitrogen(NOX). These are the primary causes of air quality-related health problems, including asthma.
The Mayor believes a Low Emission Zone is the most effective way to achieve reductions of the most harmful road transport generated emissions in London.
Lorries, buses and coaches who don’t meet emissions standards will pay £200, while heavy vans and minibuses, will find themselves on the business end of £100 per day. Cameras will monitor any emission-spewing entrants into the capital.
Needless to say, not everyone’s overly impressed, with the BBC reporting motorists are “baffled” by the whole thing and The Times reporting that the health benefits that Ken reckons the LEZ will produce are, well, cobblers. Here’s a snippet:
Although it will raise an estimated £3-4 million a year in fees and fines, the scheme will make a huge overall loss. Mr Livingstone has spent £49 million establishing the scheme and it will cost £10 million a year to operate for the next eight years. The mayor claims that the costs are justified by the health benefits and yesterday issued a press release saying that 900,000 Londoners would benefit from reduced air pollution by 2012. The release implied that the zone would help to save the lives of many of the 1,000 people who die prematurely in London each year because of poor air quality.
But Transport for London, the mayor’s transport authority, admitted yesterday that very few lives would be saved. It said that existing European regulations on reducing engine emissions would contribute 65 per cent of the health benefits listed by Mr Livingstone. Another 15 per cent would be the product of existing plans to introduce cleaner buses and taxis. Only a fifth of the improvement in air pollution by 2012 will be attributable to the low emission zone. Air pollution in general will reduce only by about 5 per cent, meaning the zone will improve overall air quality by only 1 per cent.