Diesel free London is the "only way" to control toxic pollutants – says Greenpeace

A new IPPR report supported by Greenpeace shows that diesel vehicles are responsible for nearly 40% of all NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) emissions in London and need to be comprehensively tackled with a view to phasing them out, in order to ensure air pollution is brought to safe levels.
Bad quality air is the second most important factor impacting on public health in the capital after smoking.
London is currently breaking World Health Organisation for limits for NO2 and particulate matter, which means 10,000 lives prematurely lost every year and an annual cost of £3.7 billion.
The Lethal and Illegal report, based on King’s College modelling, demonstrates that “under the existing policy regime the capital is not expected to reach compliance with the legal limits on NO2 until 2025 or beyond”. However, the implementation of the proposed measures could result in an estimated gain of up to 1.4 million life-years over a lifetime across the population of Greater London and an annualised economic benefit of up to £800 million.
Greenpeace Senior Air Quality Campaigner Barbara Stoll said:
“We welcome Sadiq Khan’s plans to tackle air pollution, but this report shows that we need to go much further and get serious about phasing out diesel cars if we are to stop thousands of Londoners losing their lives to dangerous levels of pollution.”.
Greenpeace and IPPR propose that the Mayor of London should:
– Introduce a charge on all non-zero emissions cars in inner London by 2025, with action on buses, vans and lorries too
– Phase out diesel taxis by 2025
– Make sure the revenues raised by road charging are reinvested into the public transport network, car sharing, cycling, walking and other sustainable options.
The report states that measures in London will need to be complemented with action by Whitehall:A new Clean Air Act that targets air pollution;A diesel scrappage scheme linked to public transport and car club membership to make the phase out affordable for poorer drivers and businesses;Reform ‘road tax’ so diesel vehicles are not promoted over petrol.
Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, FMedSci Special Adviser to the Royal College of Physicians said:
“Fumes from diesel engines are the most toxic of all ambient air pollutants linked to human diseases like asthma, strokes and lung cancer. Since Europe has the highest proportion of its car fleet powered by diesel, encouraging solutions to this problem should be one of UK’s urgent priorities”.
A recent survey carried out by nfpSynergy shows that ​​61% of Londoners who own a car or have access to one, are extremely or very concerned around air pollution caused by diesel cars and also that ​​people across the UK believe car companies and central government are responsible for dealing with the air pollution caused by diesel cars (75% and 54%)