London is leading the charge against air pollution from vehicles by introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Vehicles release a number of harmful gases from their exhausts including Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide.
Both of these are classified as greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change, but Nitrogen Oxide contributes heavily to air pollution. Currently, the air in London is above the legal limits of Nitrogen Oxide permitted. The ULEZ was set up to directly improve the air conditions in London.
In the press release, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, listed off multiple reasons why this Zone was necessary. Toxic air is responsible for shortening the lives of children, as well as increasing the chances of asthma, cancer, and dementia in those exposed to it.
What Exactly Is The ULEZ
Beginning April 8th, 2019, the ULEZ goes into effect in a small section of London. In this zone, vehicles are being discouraged from traveling by being charged daily. All cars, motorbikes, and vans that do not meet the emission guidelines will see a 12.50 pound charge ($16), while trucks, buses, and coaches will see a 100 pound charge ($130).
To find out if your vehicle is compliant, an online tool was created to aid residents. This current zone will be in effect until 2021, and at that time it will be expanded. After six years, the air in the region will contain amounts of Nitrogen Oxide that are within the legal limit.
Public Transportation Is Being Upgraded
Anyone who has taken a trip to the UK should be very familiar with the famous red bus fleet. Due to this new zones strict emission guidelines, the entire fleet, consisting of 9,200 vehicles, will be enhanced to meet or exceed the current guidelines set by the ULEZ. This upgrade is expected to be completed by October 2020.
Of course, London is not alone in trying to reduce public transportation emissions. Earlier this year, both the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, and the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, began creating legislation that will improve funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
Public transportation is a key factor in significantly reducing emissions from vehicles. The better public transportation there is, the less necessary it is for residents to have a car. And the lower the number of cars on the road, the less emissions that will be released.