Open letter to Sadiq Khan: we need a diesel-free London
Subject: Diesel Free London
Dear Mayor Sadiq Khan,
2016 has been a year full of air pollution lowlights. The UK has the second
highest number of premature deaths in Europe owing to bad air quality. London
has suffered multiple high air pollution episodes. And the national government
has been defeated in the high court for failure to deal with air quality
issues. There has never been a more urgent time to take action.
We welcome your clear desire to deliver a step-change in tackling air pollution
in London by doubling the funding available and issuing air pollution alerts.
And your proposals to make the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) bigger and
sooner, with related measures is a good first step. At a minimum, we hope that
the most robust version of these policies is implemented.
At the same time, we also know that to tackle the problems of oxides of
nitrogen (NOx) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in London and make our air safer,
diesel vehicles will have to be completely phased out. Almost 40% of
London’s NOx comes from diesel vehicles on our streets and over 90% of NO2
exhaust emissions. They are responsible for a range of respiratory and
cardiovascular diseases resulting in loss of workdays and increased health
There is an entire generation that is being exposed to potentially irreversible
health impacts from air pollution.
The announcement last week from the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and
Athens to ban diesel vehicles by 2025, shows much needed international
leadership. Of course, governments should do more but there is no reason why
London should not be joining this initiative.
We, the undersigned, call on you to join the leading C40 Cities in committing
to a ban on diesel vehicles no later than 2025 to help clean up London’s air.
Friends of the Earth
London Cycling Campaign
CleanAir in London
We are Cycling
Campaign for better transport
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
London Sustainability Exchange