Plans to establish a zero-emission zone (Zez) in central London by 2025 have been postponed by City Hall. The proposal, outlined in the 2018 transport strategy of the London mayor, had suggested implementing charges for all petrol and diesel vehicles. However, the existing Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) was expanded to encompass all boroughs of London on Tuesday, and City Hall expressed its support for councils that wanted to introduce their own Zez within their boroughs.
The strategy had initially aimed to create zero-emission zones in town centers from 2020 and establish a zero-emission zone in central London by 2025. It also intended to implement a zero-emission zone for inner London by 2040 and citywide by 2050. The plan acknowledged the necessity for both incentives and infrastructure to encourage the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles, as well as disincentives to phase out fossil fuel vehicles entirely. As a result, it was likely that vehicles incapable of zero-exhaust emissions would be required to pay road user charges within the zero-emission zone.
Mayor Sadiq Khan’s spokesperson revealed that the mayor’s current focus is on achieving net-zero emissions in London by 2030. Meanwhile, the Conservative government has announced plans to prohibit the sale of new cars and vans powered solely by petrol or diesel from 2030, with hybrid sales banned from 2035. When BBC London contacted councils in central London, some, such as Camden Council and Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council, stated that they currently have no plans for implementing emissions schemes. Other councils, including Westminster, Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Wandsworth, and Lambeth, have yet to provide comments.
Notably, Beech Street in the City of London briefly acted as a zero-emission zone from March 2020 to September 2021 under a temporary traffic order, making it the only zone of its kind so far in the city. Although the plans for a zero-emission zone in central London have been shelved, London continues to pursue comprehensive measures to address air pollution and combat climate change.