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Today the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone comes into action in London aiming to reduce air pollution by 45% by charging £12.50 to older cars.
Broadcast on 08/04/19
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some of the toughest rules on polluting vehicles are being introduced in London today and it's thought other major cities across Britain could follow suit the Capitals ultra-low emission zone means drivers of older more polluting vehicles will pay a charge to enter the city centre in a bid to improve air quality well Nick Dixon joins us live now from West London Nick are the drivers prepared for this I show on let's hope so because this this scheme is now enforced 24 hours a day 7 days a week when you're coming into central London as soon as you see that sign ultra-low emission at all times or indeed on the road itself the congestion zone sign when you're crossing that you are effectively paying that penalty just as a rough guide if it's a diesel car more than four years old or a petrol car Prix 2006 you're going to have to pay that 12 pounds 50 and you need to get this right and make sure your car isn't exempt because you have to pay a fine of a hundred and sixty pounds and these kind of schemes are going to be taking place in other parts of the country as well the likes of Leeds and Birmingham looking at similar schemes to try and encourage clean air zones millions of us are living with air pollution in our daily lives but now people using vehicles which emit the highest levels of nitrogen oxide from exhaust fumes will be paying a penalty air pollution is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK and public health England says it can impact people suffering from asthma and cause the development of coronary heart disease stroke and lung cancer to try and combat rising pollution on London's roads cars and motorbikes will be charged 12 pounds 50 a day if they don't meet emission standards while lorries will be charged 200 pounds Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says it could cut harmful emissions by 45% so the amount of money we're spending on air quality is more than double the amount of revenues you make from the ultra low emission zone but it's ring-fence Richard we can't use this anything else it'll be used to improve public transport in London but also to fix the air in London campaigners argue it's a money-making exercise the profit that we're making from a truck is three thousand pounds a year twenty-six thousand pounds a year in terms of potential charges that's going to put businesses out of business pollution is an issue across the nation with the ear and doncaster and leads among the most toxic in campaigners want to see ultra low emission zones rolled out across the country Nick Nixon good morning Britain well as you saw that we spoke to city can live here about an hour ago and he made a fair fist of defending that this new policy but we've had nothing I have to tell you if you're watching Sadiq we've had nothing but negative comments about it we haven't had one positive comment saying this is a good thing everybody's saying basically it's a tax on the poor is the money making scheme yeah and how ironic for labor who told us to buy diesel cars a few years ago and if you stuck with them because you can't pull another one you having to pay huge amounts of money to come in to the center of town and and this is going to roll out and to other cities isn't it so policy it is but on the other hand you know we can't carry on just policing our atmosphere around us and it means that more people are in hospital as a consequence so something's got to be done now if you've been watching you will know that from today motorists in London and this is probably going to spread out across the country and major cities are going to have to pay to drive older more polluting vehicles into the center of the capital it's the only city in the country to have an ultra-low emission zone so far but similar schemes are planned in Birmingham and in Leeds well earlier at the London Merced econ told us he believes we're experiencing a public health emergency we've got our children with permanent underdeveloped stunted lungs caused by the poor quality air and adults with a whole range of health issues from asthma to to make sure to cancer it's the poorest Londoners live in the most deprived areas only the fewest cars who suffer the worst problems you can't see it you don't realize how bad that is well we're joined now by motoring journalist Quentin Willson good morning Quentin hiya morning try just checking the satellite delays working um well as I said earlier we've had a lot of feedback from viewers on this and we haven't had one single email yeah I'm sure there must be people out there who agree with this but if so they haven't contacted us there's a lot of anger there and it seems to be kind of class-based people are saying that this is a tax on the poor this is a tax on the working people and it's just not fair but a Charlotte said we've got to do something to clean the air up haven't we so at fair fuel UK we've had 3,000 emails this morning alone and it's only quarter past eight yes we absolutely have to clean up our urban air but we have to do it in a rigorously scientific way that the 37 million drivers in this country believe will make a difference now I look at the proposals here and I can drive into London in a brand-new five litre v8 Mustang and not pay the congestion the the emissions charge yet a little motorbike 2007 will have to pay 12 pounds 50 I could drive into London and ten year-old Bentley or rolls-royce and not pay the charge but if I drove in in a 10 year old diesel Fiesta I'd have to pay so we need to be very careful this doesn't disadvantage the already disadvantaged and makes it a attacks for the the people who can least afford it to travel in London and the property has to make a difference yes but Quentin the point that I put took to the mayor an hour or so ago was that actually the devil is in the detail and if they're going to get this thing sorted in terms of a heavy pollution and the central city's a kind of maybe a blunt approach is the only way that they're going to push this through well this is a tax to pollute and and you know you drive in you pay your money so that the most wealthy the people who can afford it most are favored and that's the problem if you really want to improve it let's not have let's not have a lot of cars at all and there are other anomalies like I mean a renault clio diesel emits 20 times the pollutants of a Land Rover Discovery and this is done on registrations not on individual car types then you've got marine pollution 20,000 ships coming into London poor that's not even measured and then the 450,000 aviation movements at Heathrow are we factoring those in as well yeah is it just passenger cars or wood do we need to look at this huge raft of other pollutants like central heating like wood Burnie like industrial combustion all this sort of stuff okay I mean we know it's obviously not a perfect system we know there are a lot of other things that contribute to pollution as well but we look at the statistics 4000 Londoners hospitalized every year with a Samoan lung conditions caused by pollution something does have to be done and what other way is there of tackling it something does have to be done Charlotte you're absolutely right but it has to be done with a scientifically robust way and and there are all these gaps where we're not targeting other forms of pollution within London and lots of pollution comes from Europe we're not measuring that so why just focus on passenger cars let's have a proper proper robust study that's based empirically on science and not on kind of virtue signaling and gesturing and the that's a suspicion that people have about this at the moment is incredible we polled 25,000 people at fair fuel an 80% said that they didn't believe it's going to make any difference at all and here is the really important thing if we don't take consumers with us we will lose them forever and we won't be able to make a big difference for air quality and that will be the biggest tragedy of all quench and finally and very briefly if I if I may ask you to be do you think that apart from being anti pollution what we're looking at here also is a cultural shift to a society which is anti car and that at some point in the relatively near future we'll have cities that simply don't allow cars in well that will come and there is a huge anti car rhetoric at the moment but Richard what is the alternative you go on the underground and the particulate pollution on the underground is sometimes 30 times more than it is at street level you know we haven't spent the money on the infrastructure the transport the public transport we don't have that and expecting people to give up their cars and now and jump on a public transport system that frankly doesn't exist is just 3 mean ok Ollie ollie Quinton thank you very much today those driving diesel or older polluting cars and vans will be faced with a 12 pound 50 charge if they drive into central London now you may have read this but these charges are part of what's called the new ultra low emission zone which sir the Mayor of London says should cut harmful emissions by about 45% if they're lucky and help prevent thousands and thousands of Londoners particularly children developing breathing difficulties or die early every year as a result of toxic air well the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joins us now live from Westminster very good morning to you there are accusations that this is actually just a money-making scheme that the proof isn't in it that it will cut emissions by the amount that you say it will do there are concerns that it will hit poorer families the hardest because they won't be able to afford to upgrade their cars and also it's going to hit businesses massively at a time when there's already big uncertainty over why Charlotte goodman Ritchie you talk with a number of her points let me try and deal with each of those four I can please we've got in London a and across the country in major cities a public health emergencies as Richard said thousands of premature deaths each year directly caused by the poor quality air we've got our children with permanent underdeveloped stunted lungs caused by the poor quality air and adults with a whole range of health issues from asthma to dementia to cancer for Londoners each day are hospitalized because of the poor quality air the good news is that since we announced this policy two years ago we've seen a drop in the numbers of non-compliant vehicles coming into the central and an area because they've realised that because their vehicles are more polluting they shoot either move tray compliant vehicles in an increase in the number of compliant vehicles or if they can walk cycle use public transport but the point is this it's the poorest Londoners live in the most deprived areas only the fewest cars who suffer the worst the problem is you can't see us you don't realize how bad that is but Charlotte's right she's right when she says that there are going to be people who will be disproportionately affected by this compared to others would it be fair to say that that your approach and your team's approach on this when you push this through is a kind of a sledgehammer to crack and night you thought well there's no point dicking about here what we've got to do is be absolutely blunt about and to make a change rather than fiddling at the edges we've got to think big and if that means that some people suffer more than others well so be it because the issues are so big would that be a fair assessment it's kind of all or nothing yes and no what we've done is I've been lobbying the government to get some assistance to introduce a national diesel scrappage scheme to help small businesses charities low-income families move away from polluting vehicles to cleaner vehicles they've said no so I've introduced my own London diesel scrappage scheme what we do Richard is were helping micro businesses these are businesses that employ less than 10 people charities and low-income families who've one reason or another can't afford to move away from a pollutant vehicle to assist them we're also helping black taxis how do they access that how do they get exemption then what do they do so they contact Transport for London there's a website and there's a grant scheme roughly speaking 6000 pounds to move away from a polluting vehicle we're also helping black taxis move away from polluting diesel vehicles and our buses we don't have in London every single bus in the euros area compliant but 75% of the buses across London and our compliance similarly Richard we're keen not to have the NHS the fire service the police service disadvantaged and so we've made a raise with them as well so they can move away from the most polluting vehicles and you're right there is a massive human misery caused by poor-quality about an economic cost as well it costs the London economy 3.7 billion pounds a year and the national economy 20 billion pounds a year because of the poor quality air is this just one step on a long march to a kind of a Carles capital which other cities might follow could be an example of what I mean I drove in this morning I always drive myself into work and I'm not for the first time I realized how much more difficult it is to get into the centre of London let alone more expensive lot of roads close now to traffic that river used to be closed obviously you've got the 20 mile an hour zone which when you're driving at 4:00 in the morning and the roads are completely empty just feel a bit odd but anyway you have to follow the limit but there are measures after measures after measures to discourage people from driving into the center of the capital and as I say other cities who are following suit it's been 20 to 25 years time we were in a position where no cars were allowed in the centre of London would you be surprised is that actually the end game is that what will really this is anti car this is anti polluting vehicles they're just cars but vans coaches lorries buses as well as would be alright then we are promoting compliant vehicles so a compliant vehicle is an omission vehicle an electric vehicle that's why over the course of the last years we've also introduced what's called rapid charging points so someone like you at home can charge your vehicle overnight because you've got the luxury of but I'm still using carbon I charge my electric car and got one but if I charge my electric car at some point down the chain there's a power station sucking co2 into the atmosphere so I can charge my car so we're simply transferring the problem somewhere else somewhere yeah so it said the grid's got to be renewable but also even you're breaking this in an electric vehicle Richard gives off some bad stuff in years so what we trying to do is move people away from polluting vehicles either to cleaner vehicles compliant vehicles or ideally to walk cycling use public transport give you an idea in London roughly speaking today 64% of people either walk cycle use public transport we want to get that 80% of the course of the next few years and the biggest reason for that is that populations grown we're currently 8.9 million we're going to soon get to 9 million it will be 10 million by 2030 we simply can't have 10 million people driving around London we can't have them going around London if public transport is cheaper more affordable more reliable safe but also it's easier to Orkin cycle and that's one of the things that we're grappling with as a city that because of our successes more people coming nothing wrong with growth per se be good plan for their growth you