The ultra low emission zone in central London should help improve air quality in the city

UK car makers call for stricter low-emission zone plan

The UK automotive industry has called for changes in the proposed ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in London to harmonise diesel and petrol-powered vehicle requirements.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) sent a letter to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson asking for a more technology-neutral approach. Currently, the regulations expect petrol vehicles up to 14 years old to be allowed to enter the ULEZ without penalty.

"The implementation of the ULEZ will accelerate the take-up of ultra-low and low-emission vehicles, but a harmonisation of standards – a technology-neutral approach – for petrol and diesel vehicles would strengthen the initiative,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

"Currently the proposed requirements differ for cars and vans. We are urging London to be more ambitious with a universal standard for both petrol and diesel vans and cars which would remove any confusion, strengthen the uptake of cleaner technology and bring air quality benefits sooner,” he said, adding that the UK automotive industry is already investing billions of pounds in the UK and abroad to develop technologies to lower vehicle emissions.

The prospective low-emission zone, to be introduced in 2020, aims to improve the air quality in the city as well as reduce its carbon footprint.

"Improving London's air quality is of paramount importance as it affects the health and well-being of every Londoner,” said Michele Dix, planning managing director of Transport for London, which is in charge of the ULEZ project

"That's why we are doing everything in our power to address emissions from road transport, with the introduction of a ULEZ core of our work to improve the capital's air. We would urge everyone who lives, works or travels in London to give us their views on the ULEZ proposal."

Transport for London is holding a consultation on ULES which ends on 9 January 2015.

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