A pioneering scheme which bans all petrol and diesel cars from roads from roads in London has begun as part of the UK’s first "ultra-low emissions zone”.
The aim is simple in that the scheme will attempt to cut dangerous levels of pollution on nine streets in east London. Only electric cars and the newest hybrids will be allowed to access the streets during morning and evening rush hour periods.
Motorists who decide to flout the law will be fined £130 after being picked up by automatic number plate recognition technology. The zones will operate from 7-10am and 4-7pm, Monday to Friday. During these hours the nine designated roads in the boroughs of Hackney and Islington will only permit access to “ultra-low emission” vehicles only – anything that emits less than 75/kg of CO2.
The scheme is being funded by the mayor of London’s air quality fund and the government’s go ultra-low city scheme and was signed off by both Hackney and Islington councils.
Claudia Webbe, Islington council’s executive member for environment and transport, has described the initiative as “groundbreaking”.
She added: “Air pollution is a huge issue for Islington residents. We are proud to be leading from the front to tackle this life or death issue. This groundbreaking proposal for ‘electric streets’ – the first of its kind in the UK – will prioritise low-pollution transport such as electric cars and cut polluting vehicles during peak hours in the streets surrounding Central Foundation Boys school in Islington – the most polluted state secondary in London.”
The nine roads under which the scheme will be implemented are Blackall Street, Cowper Street, Paul Street, Tabernacle Street, Ravey Street, Singer Street, Willow Street, Charlotte Road and Rivington Street.
Before the scheme was launched, a consultation was opened to gauge the thoughts of those living near the zones and the results showed it was supported by 70% of participants.
Commenting on the implementation, London Assembly member Caroline Russell said: “Islington and Hackney have seized the opportunity to give people a really strong message about taking pollution seriously and to show the scale of London’s health emergency.”
Councillor Feryal Demirci, of Hackney Council, said the move would "reduce people's exposure to dangerous fumes and make the streets safer when people are walking and cycling to and from work and school".