Welcoming plans for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London by 2020, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said London should set the benchmark for the world’s great cities by implementing a scheme which demands the very best in vehicle technology.
In an open letter to the Mayor of London, SMMT has called for a rethink of the current proposals set out by Transport for London (TfL) to enforce the latest emission standards for both petrol and diesel vehicles.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “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. Currently the proposed requirements differ for cars and vans. SMMT is urging London to be more ambitious with a universal (Euro 6) 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.
“The automotive industry is investing billions of pounds in the UK and abroad to develop technologies to lower vehicle emissions. The ULEZ can accelerate the take up of these cleaner technologies and bring air quality and carbon reduction benefits to London sooner.
“Today’s diesel vehicles are light-years away from those built just a decade ago. Intelligent engine design and highly efficient exhaust aftertreatments, including particulate filters, capture over 99% of particulates and around two-thirds of NOx emissions. ULEZ proposals should support the introduction of these technologies now, technologies which are being introduced ahead of the ever-tougher legislative requirements which will be implemented over the next few years.”
Looking to the future, Mike Hawes added, “We need an integrated approach on air quality at local, regional, national and European level. Fleet renewal, or the uptake of new vehicles on the road, is critical in reducing emissions. Proposals such as London’s ULEZ can help deliver this goal.
“Air quality is often a local issue so we need a flexibility that allows for focused initiatives like the ULEZ but which sit within an overall framework of harmonised standards across Europe. The automotive sector must have certainty in policy direction so technology investments can be targeted on addressing key issues such as air quality and climate change.”