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Remove diesels from London to cut emissions, urges think tank

Date: 02 November 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

A leading think tank has called on the mayor of London to rid the capital of diesel vehicles in order to solve its pollution crisis.

On the same day the Government lost a battle against environmental campaigners over its lack of action to reduce illegal pollution levels, The Institute For Public Policy Research has claimed London will need to "progressively phase-out diesel vehicles" over the next decade to meet legal NOx levels.

According to environmental researchers at King's College London, 40% of all NOx emissions in the capital currently come from diesel vehicles. The college's modelling, commissioned by IPPR for its report Lethal and illegal: Solving London's air pollution crisis suggests if the level of diesel cars in inner London goes down to 5% of the total fleet, 99.9% of Greater London would be brought into compliance, up from 87.5% which reached compliant levels in 2010.

Should these improvements happen, IPPR said there would be an estimated gain of 1.4 million life-years over a lifetime across London's population.

To do this, IPPR said the current mayor should focus on increasing regulations on diesel vehicles, while investments should be channelled towards shared transport options, such as car clubs.

Imposing charges on all diesel cars and banning diesel taxis, as well as stricter limits for lorries and buses, are also key to the plan, while the think tank has also suggested Transport for London should investigate the possibility of introducing road pricing and smart charging systems for London's roads.

It has also been suggested that central London should become an emissions-free zone from 2025.

"Air pollution in London is at lethal levels," said Laurie Laybourn-Langton, IPPR research fellow on climate change, energy and transport policy. "Bringing these levels down will save lives and make the capital more pleasant and prosperous for all Londoners. This won't be easy, and so our plan includes a number of measures that reduce the cost to Londoners of cleaning up transport."