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London's Clean Air Drive is Working

According to new data, the number of ‘dirty’ cars on London’s streets has almost halved since the mayor’s controversial expansion of clean air measures to cover all of London, rather than just central London.

Parliament Square, London

Sadiq Khan expanded the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to cover Greater London in August. The London-wide zone measures 580 square miles (1,500km2) and covers nine million people, making it the largest zone of its kind in the world.

Now, fresh findings show that 95 percent of vehicles clocked driving in the city’s outer limits are now compliant with clean air standards, almost catching up with compliance rates in the inner city.

The figures also reveal that the daily number of older, more polluting vehicles on the roads has fallen by 77,000 since June - a drop of 45 percent. There has also been an overall reduction in vehicles seen driving in the zone. On an average day, there were 48,000 fewer unique vehicles driving each day in the London-wide ULEZ compared to June 2023. This is a two percent reduction, although it will take more time for traffic patterns post launch to fully emerge.

The decision to expand Ulez drew ire from motorists who couldn’t afford to buy newer, cleaner vehicles, despite the mayor’s £2,000 ($2,440) scrappage scheme. Some anti-Ulez expansion groups took the mayor to court, but Khan’s plans were deemed lawful.

The mayor said that the new data vindicated the policy. “I am determined to do all I can to ensure that Londoners now and the next generation can grow up breathing cleaner air,” he said.

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