London ‘must become diesel free zone’

Euro 6 diesel drivers should not be exempt from charges when the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into force in London from 2020 as there is “no such thing as a clean diesel car”, according to London Assembly Member Stephen Knight.

Photo of London Eye taken from Soutbank 10.20am March 17 2015

Photo of London Eye taken from Soutbank 10.20am March 17 2015

Under current ULEZ plans, diesel cars manufactured from September 1 2015, and a small number of vehicles manufactured up to a year prior to this date, will not have to pay a daily charge to enter central London.

However, Liberal Democrat AM Mr Knight said last week (September 25) that that Euro 6 diesel cars should not be allowed to enter the planned Central London ULEZ as real-world emissions tests show higher emissions from diesel cars than in laboratory tests.

His comments come in the wake of the recent Volkswagen emissions fixing scandal which unfolded last week, which led to the UK government launching a probe into diesel emissions testing in the UK (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Mr Knight said: “The unfolding VW emissions fixing scandal is clearly demonstrating that, despite what motor manufacturers have been claiming, there is no such thing as a clean diesel car. Real-world tests show that so-called ‘clean’ (Euro 6) diesels actually emit many times more poisonous gases than they are legally entitled to.

“The Mayor Boris Johnson’s current proposals for his ULEZ count Euro 6 diesel cars as ‘ultra low emission vehicles’ allowed to enter central London free of charge. This policy clearly now hangs in tatters and must be revised.

Mr Knight added: “It is now abundantly clear that no diesel cars should be allowed to enter the ULEZ zone from 2020.”

According to UK motor industry body SMMT, however, the latest Euro 6 diesel technology emits “virtually zero” particulate matter and more than half the NOx emissions of previous generation vehicles (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Last week, SMMT also said that “Consumers should be reassured that cars sold in the UK must comply with strict European laws” in response to the VW scandal (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Paris

Mr Knight also said that “Central London, like Paris, must become a diesel-free zone”, referring to the Mayor of Paris’s plan to ban diesel cars from the French capital altogether from 2020 in a bid to reduce air pollution (see AirQualityNews.com story).

And, yesterday (September 27) a planned ‘car-free’ day was enforced in central Paris for the first time with the city’s Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, reportedly stating the aim of showing that “Paris can operate without cars”.

It meant that between 9am and 4pm, no cars – except for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles – drove on Paris’s central roads and areas around the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees.