Car fuelling with diesel

Could diesel cars be banned in central London?

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The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said that diesel cars will have to be completely phased out on London's roads if the city is to comply with safe and legal limits on air pollution.

Lights from traffic outside Big Ben in LondonIn a new report, Lethal and Illegal, the think-tank suggests that an expansion of the planned Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) -- banning the most polluting diesels from London's roads -- across inner London is needed. But it also argues that the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, might ultimately have to go further and phase out diesel cars altogether.

Harry Quilter-Pinner, researcher at IPPR and co-author of the report, claimed that "only bold action will make the capital's air safe to breathe again".

He continued: "Indeed, IPPR's analysis suggests [Khan] will ultimately need to completely phase out diesel cars and buses in order to reach legal compliance. However, he cannot achieve this alone. National government has so far shirked its duty on this issue. They must now pitch in to help save lives."

Referring to the potential impact of a ban on businesses, particularly in light of the economic outlook, IPPR said that the proposed regulation should be much less stringent on vans than on cars and buses as punitive charges could have a negative impact on small firms and economic growth.
However, over time, as new electric and hybrid vans come on the market, this subsidy could be slowly reversed, Quilter-Pinner suggested.

IPPR also said that it supports calls for a new Clean Air Act to further embed air quality standards, due to the risk that leaving the European Union will weaken the pressure on policy making with regard to air pollution.

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