New initiatives, stemming from the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy and controlled by Transport for London (TfL), are aimed at detering some of the oldest and most polluting vehicles from driving into London through changes to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and reforms to taxi licensing standards.

According to TfL leading health organisations including Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have voiced their support for the changes.

London mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “From January we are ushering in even higher environmental standards to curb pollution and ensure fresher, healthier air for all.

“Delivering cleaner air is key to my goal of creating a better quality of life for Londoners.

“2012 is also an historic year during which the eyes of the world will turn to London and I want people to experience a cleaner, greener city before, during and after the Olympics.”

The measures being introduced in January are:

·From 3 January 2012, larger vans and minibuses will have to meet Low Emission Zone standards for the first time, meaning only cleaner vehicles of this type that meet the Euro 3 emissions standard for particulate matter can drive within Greater London without their owners paying a £100 daily charge or risking a £500 fine.

·In addition, vehicles already affected by the Low Emission Zone – lorries, buses and coaches – will now have to meet stricter emissions standards. These vehicles will need to meet a Euro IV standard for particulate matter to drive within Greater London without their owners paying a £200 daily charge or risking a £1,000 fine;

·The introduction of London’s first ever age limit on black cabs from 1 January 2012: this will mean the oldest and most polluting vehicles will no longer be licensed, affecting any vehicle over 15 years old.

·From 1 January, a 10-year age limit for licensed private hire vehicles will also apply to licensed operators;

·The launch of a no-idling campaign in early January: drivers of all vehicles in London including coaches and buses, will be encouraged to do their bit by turning off their engines when stationary, reducing the amount of unnecessary and harmful exhaust fumes emitted.

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie