The London Assembly Environment Committee is calling for Transport for London and mayor Boris Johnson to introduce the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone sooner than 2020.

The public consultation on the scheme ended last month and TfL said it is currently analysing responses and will then make a recommendation to the mayor. Should the ULEZ proposal go ahead, it would be introduced in September 2020.

Under the zone’s proposal, all vehicles would have to meet new emissions standards that would be in place at all times, with the hope of the ULEZ halving emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) from exhausts.

However, the LAEC believes the plans for the zone are too little, to late. It has suggested the scheme should be implemented sooner than 2020 with the non-compliance charge of £12.50 per day increasing over the zone’s first few years.

The other recommendations made by the group are:

  • Discussions with boroughs on the costs, benefits and practicalities of a wider ULEZ should be progressed, with a view to widening the ULEZ beyond the Congestion Charge Zone as soon as possible.
  • The standards of the ULEZ must be kept under review, and should be tightened to drive the uptake of lower-emissions vehicles as they become more widely available.

The LARC said the mayor, London boroughs and the Government should establish how the city could achieve full compliance with air pollution limits by 2020.

“The Mayor’s argument that owners need time to adjust their purchasing decisions doesn’t wash because non-compliant vehicles will not become unusable, they will just be subject to charges,” said Stephen Knight, chair of the Environment Committee. “TfL has said that nearly three quarters of the traffic in central London will meet the proposed ULEZ standards by 2020 even without the zone.”

“The financial costs to a small number of drivers must therefore be weighed against the worrying number of Londoners affected by respiratory problems and thousands of early deaths linked to the capital’s air quality.”