Low emission zones not enough to curb urban transport emissions alone

Clean air zones must be combined with incentives, infrastructure and shared mobility to yield the necessary decarbonisation gains. By Jack Hunsley

London set the standard for urban emission transport schemes with the introduction of its Low Emissions Zone in 2008 and it has continued to push the bar even higher since. In 2019, this led to the creation of its Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) which, as its name implies, imposed even greater restrictions on the vehicles that can freely move through the designated area. In short, the scheme aims to limit the presence of pre-2015 diesel and gasoline vehicles and at its current rate of expansion there could feasibly come a time where most Londoners live within the ULEZ’s boundaries; an update in October 2021 pushed the ULEZ beyond central London: it now covers an area 18 times the size of the original Low Emission Zone with 3.8 million Londoners dwelling within its borders.

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