Zac Goldsmith promises 'clean air revolution' in Transport Manifesto
Zac Goldsmith will kick-start a 'clean air revolution' if elected London Mayor by cleaning up the capital's bus and taxi fleet, aiming for all new cars in London to be zero emission by 2030, and introducing a Boris Bike equivalent for electric cars, according to his Transport Manifesto.
In the 24-page Manifesto, the Conservative MP sets out a series of bold environmental pledges to clean up capital’s air in the build up to the London mayoral election next month (5 May), with many measures aligning with recent proposals made by environmental researchers on London’s air pollution policy.
The objectives include a target to ensure all new black cabs and minicabs are zero emissions by 2018 and 2020 respectively. As an immediate priority, Goldsmith insists he will work with TfL to provide ‘Clean Bus Corridors’ – ensuring the cleanest buses are put on the dirtiest routes in order to ease air pollution.
Consultations on improving the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) would work in tandem with rolling out cleaner van and car choices for Londoners. Dirty cars and vans would need to pay a charge to drive into the ULEZ, while clean cars will not have to pay the additional charge.
Goldsmith also vows to create a point-to-point electric car sharing system in lieu of the Boris Bike cycling initiative, as well as working with the Government to back capital-wide diesel scrappage schemes.
Green lamp posts
The Richmond Park MP said: “Too many Londoners have their lives cut short by out polluted air. As Mayor I will make cleaning up our air an absolute priority. My Action Plan for Greater London will put in a concrete, costed, coherent strategy to drive a clean air revolution without unduly penalising local residents and businesses.”
Other Manifesto pledges include an aim to provide London with the power to control Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and the creation of a ‘green lamp posts’ network and a ‘charging for London’ system to integrate a patchwork of charging points for zero emission cars across London boroughs.
Goldsmith also remains resolute in his objective to ensure Heathrow expansion stays ‘absolutely off the table’, warning that a new runway would create toxic levels of pollution and unacceptable levels of noise.
The Conservative mayoral candidate’s Transport Manifesto comes a week after researchers from think-tank Policy Exchange and King’s College London proposed a raft of measures that the next London Mayor should introduce to cut pollution and help people live longer.
Environmental experts devised a 10-point plan which included a comprehensive package of methods such as tackling emissions from gas boilers, imposing tighter standards on diesel vehicles and restricting the most polluting vehicles from entering the capital.
That research follows a number of damning reports on UK air quality, including revelations that indoor and outdoor air pollution is now claiming at least 40,000 UK lives a year, along with statistics which show that London breached annual EU pollution limits just one week into 2015.
Goldsmith has consistenty been a staunch campaigner of environmentalist issues, by the same token as his uncle Edward Goldsmith - a founding member of the political party now recognised as the Green Party.
Earlier this month, the Green Party’s own London Mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, committed to a replacement of ‘half-hearted’ efforts to tackle air pollution with a fully-integrated, zero-emission fleet of public transport vehicles and elevated congestion charges. Among a raft of policy pledges, Berry said she would immediately move to tighten up standards for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and replace diesel buses with hybrids and electric vehicles.
Rival London Mayor front-runner, Labour's Sadiq Kahn, last month made his own pledge to ignite a 'clean energy revolution' in the capital and become the 'greenest mayor ever'.
Zac Goldsmith's Transport Manifesto