All cars except pure electric vehicles, electric range-extender vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will be banned from certain roads in Hackney, during peak hours, in a bid to squash high pollution levels and rising emissions.
Dubbed as Ultra Low Emissions (ULEV) streets, it is the first initiative of its kind in the country, restricting vehicle movement for emission rates beyond 75 g/kg of CO2, in nine lanes from 3 September.
This new plan might be of inconvenience to most vehicle owners, as the average CO2 emission for newly registered vehicles in the UK is 121.0 g/kg; a 0.8 per cent increase from last year. This is the first recorded increase in emissions since the turn of the millennium, and has been attributed to broader economic concerns rising over Brexit.
The restrictions cover Rivington Street, Charlotte Road, Cowper Street, Singer Street, Tabernacle Street, Paul Street, Ravey Street, Willow Street and Blackall Street.
A spokesperson for the council said the move would “reduce harmful emissions while people are travelling to work and school” and make it “easier to walk and cycle in the area”.
“Petrol, diesel and all other vehicles emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 will be banned from the streets between 7 and 10am and 4 and 7pm from Monday to Friday,“ the spokesperson said.
The ULEV street initiative was proposed by the Hackney and Islington councils, with funding from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund, and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ Go Ultra Low City Scheme.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney’s deputy mayor, said the plan would “reclaim the streets from polluting petrol and diesel vehicles, and improve the area for thousands of people every day”.
“Failing to act on poor air quality, which causes nearly 10,000 premature deaths across London every year, is not an option, and that’s why we’re being bolder than ever in our efforts to tackle it.”
Exceptions to the monitoring have been granted to local residents, businesses with on-street parking permits or off-street spaces, Blue Badge holders and essential traffic including waste collection and emergency service vehicles.
Signs have been installed at the entrances to the streets to alert drivers and a fixed penalty notice will be issued to vehicles that fail the standards.
Deborah Borg Brincat, spokesperson of the environment group Friends of Hackney and Tower Hamlets hailed the move as “a great step forward”.
Ms Brincat said the initiaitve would “help to re-prioritise road space away from cars and to make these streets safer and healthier for people
“Friends of the Earth is calling for a national diesel scrappage scheme to help people shift to cleaner vehicles, and huge investment in public transport, walking and cyclin,“ she said. ”These measures would help all councils to take these kinds of pioneering steps.”
The council has made the changes after London exceeded the current EU nitrogen dioxide annual limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air at over 50 monitoring sites in 2017. Last year, 31% of the borough was found to have concentrations of NO2 which are above National Air Quality Objective levels.
To check the emission rate of your vehicle, visit here.
For more information pertaining to the new scheme, visit here.