Calls to speed up London traffic to improve air quality

Calls to speed up London traffic to improve air quality

London's new mayor should look at ways to help keep motorists moving as he seeks to improve air quality in the capital, according to the RAC.

Pointing to government data showing that the average speed vehicles are travelling at in London has decreased over the last few years, the motoring organisation says tackling congestion would help to cut pollution.

New mayor Sadiq Khan has said he wants to improve London's air quality and is said to be considering a raft of measures to achieve the goal.

They include the possibility of implementing the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) earlier than planned and introducing extra charges for the most polluting vehicles entering central London. Bringing in a diesel scrappage scheme is also set to be considered.

But the RAC says introducing the ULEZ scheme early could be a cause for concern for motorists.

Nicholas Lyes, its roads policy spokesman, says: "The principal of the original Ultra-Low Emission Zone scheme was to balance the need to tackle poor air quality, and give motorists sufficient time to replace their more polluting vehicles. Bringing this forward, and introducing an extra charging scheme next year, may set alarm bells ringing for motorists and businesses who rely on their diesel vehicles every day.

"It is good to see the Mayor has recognised the need to provide incentives to vehicle owners to trade in more polluting vehicles, however studies into a diesel scrappage scheme suggest it could be expensive with relatively little benefit.

"Surely the Mayor should be setting a more ambitious target to replace polluting buses and taxis as early as possible. Some of the areas in London where air pollution is at its worst are routes heavily used by these vehicles.

"It is also important to remember that congestion can exacerbate pollution levels, so we would urge the Mayor to look at ways to get London's traffic moving as data shows average speeds are decreasing, which could be compounding the problem."

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.