London’s mayor Sadiq Khan is urging the government to introduce a scrappage scheme that would help low-income households and small businesses to replace their old polluting diesel cars with new or less polluting vehicles.
The plan to get rid of old diesel vehicles would cost the government the amount of 500 million pounds, but this amount of money seems to be nothing compared with the amount of 27.5 billion pounds and a number of 50,000 early deaths caused by air pollution every year, according to government estimates.
Diesel cars release nitrogen dioxide, which is a major contributor to London’s poor air quality, and in the days with intense traffic, the City Hall advices the population to avoid going out if it is not absolutely necessary.
Khan also plans to redesign the car tax in order to remove the incentive given to drivers to buy a diesel car.
Khan says that it is at least shocking, the fact that nearly half of the new car sales in the UK are still represented by diesel vehicles, and the national system of vehicle excise duty still provides incentives for drivers to buy diesel vehicles.
Khan stated “I’m urging the government to immediately review the policy, and today I’ve delivered a detailed report on how the government can deliver an effective national diesel scrappage fund.”
Lately, policymakers have become very concerned about the nitrogen oxide emissions released by diesel vehicles.
Under the proposed scrappage scheme, the van drivers in London would receive the amount of 3,500 pounds to get rid of their old van, and buy one that is cleaner, while the low-income households, would receive a credit worth 2,000 pounds that can be used for alternative transport, such as joining a car pool, or buying a new vehicle that is cleaner.
Only in London, the new package of measures would cost the Treasury more than 500 million pounds, but the government is already committed to taking tougher measures to improve London’s air quality.
The plan to make London’s air cleaner, would include in the future, even the removal of the wood-burning stoves used in homes for heating during the winter.
UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the government is very serious regarding the issue with air quality, and a lot of work has been already done in this case.
Since the year 2011, more than 2 billion pounds have been granted to enable, for example, the bus operators to upgrade their fleets, and to ensure that changes are made to reduce pollution from vehicles such as refuse trucks and fire engines. We do recognize, however, that more needs to be done on this matter.
May added that the government is committed to bring forward all the proposals made to improve the quality of the air.
Khan said that he already designed a series of policies to cut air pollution in London, including a plan for an ultra-low emission zone in the city that would extend out as far as the north and south circular peripheral roads.
His plans include charges for the most polluting vehicles, but he added that more radical action is required and the government needs to help us clean up the dangerous air in London.
The scrappage scheme, drawn up by Transport for London with the help of an economic consultancy, is created to allow the government to fulfil its obligations under the European law to improve air quality in the UK’s capital.
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