UK News – Why do we need Low Emission Zones?

Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have the most polluted man-made air in London according to a report by Public Health England.

According to the research, people’s lives are being shortened with 29,000 deaths a year in the UK, and 1 in 12 deaths in London, caused in part by long-term exposure to particle air pollution, the research found.

It was discovered that the runner who died after finishing the London Marathon last week suffered breathing difficulties in the weeks leading up to the race due to the air pollution and dust that drifted in from the Sahara.

Air quality has improved in recent years due to cleaner vehicles and tougher environmental laws, however it’s still not good enough. London was breaching EU safety limits of air pollution in 2010 and still breaches them now. London has by far the worst polluted air in the country and smog in the capital was visible in recent weeks.

MPs are to launch an enquiry to see why more has not been done to improve air quality over the last four years. While London Mayor Boris Johnson has made some changes such as introducing cleaner buses, age limits for taxis and improving the cycling infrastructure, there’s still much more that needs to be done to combat pollution. The Mayor announced an ultra-low emission zone in London from 2020, but that is still six years away.

Concerns have also been raised about the number of school children being exposed to this pollution. There are 1,148 schools in London within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 or more vehicles per day. Scientists say this could significantly increase a child’s chances of developing asthma or breathing or heart problems later in life.

Air pollution is a silent killer. It is never the sole cause of death, rather it exacerbates other serious health conditions and accelerates the course of diseases. These LEZ’s can support the reduction of pollution which in turn reduces the health risks to people of all ages who are subject to the ill effects of air pollution.

To facilitate, monitor and enforce the Low Emission Zones, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used. These cameras will provide the necessary deterrent as well as enforcing the mandate underlines these zones. This is not just another toll or restriction on drivers but a necessary step in ensuring the reduction in air pollution and the safety and health of millions of people.

From Carbon Voyage