Bold action is needed to clean up London’s air, according to mayor Sadiq Khan. But is the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which expanded to eighteen times its previous size this week, the right option?
Research released on the eve of the zone’s expansion to the North and South Circulars on Monday, October 25, suggested fewer than half of London drivers knew it was happening – and were potentially letting themselves in for punitive daily fees for using older, more polluting cars. TfL said they made huge efforts to tell people about the new zone.
Does the expansion mean a further burden on ordinary working people, many of whom have already been hit hard by the pandemic and are worried about a tough winter ahead? The answer is probably yes.
But Khan is also right – we do have to clean up London’s toxic air to avoid more tragic fatalities like Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the young girl in Lewisham for whom air pollution was listed as a cause of death. ULEZ may hit hard now – but we have a responsibility to make London more breathable.