Hounslow breathes a sigh of relief as ULEZ shows reduction in toxic air pollution

Hounslow Council has welcomed new figures from City Hall showing a significant drop in harmful air pollution and polluting cars being driven into central London every day.

Published: Wednesday, 23rd October 2019

Image of a ULEZ road sign in central London.

The ULEZ – operating in the Central London Congestion Charging zone – is at the heart of Mayor Saadiq Khan’s plan to tackle London’s toxic air health crisis, which leads to thousands of premature deaths every year. 

The report shows that there are now 13,500 fewer polluting cars being driven into central London and, crucially for Hounslow, there has been no increase in pollution around the ULEZ.

Since introducing the ULEZ new data reveals that:

  • Roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution has reduced by 36 per cent in the zone
  • None of the air quality monitoring sites located on ULEZ boundary roads have measured an increase in NO2 pollution levels since the scheme was introduced six months ago
  • From March to September 2019 there was a large reduction in the number of older, more polluting, non-compliant vehicles detected in the zone: some 13,500 fewer on an average day - a reduction of 38 per cent
  • 77 per cent of vehicles now in the zone now meet the ULEZ emissions standards
  • The ULEZ is also tackling the climate emergency. After six months, carbon dioxide emissions from road transport in the central zone are four per cent (9,800 tonnes) lower than if there was no scheme. 

Following the release of this report, City Hall has revealed that London children travelling to primary schools across the capital are five times more exposed to air pollution than at any other time of the day, further supporting the need for initiatives like the ULEZ to be extended to the whole of London as soon as possible.

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for communities and workforce, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the impact that the ULEZ has had in such a short space of time. Air quality and pollution is of particular concern in Hounslow given we are such a key gateway to both central London and Heathrow airport.

“It’s reassuring to see that the introduction of ULEZ hasn’t obviously increased in pollution in periphery boroughs, which was an initial concern held by many when the zone was introduced.  However we still maintain that strengthening the existing Low Emission Zone which covers the whole of our borough to include some of the oldest cars would have delivered  improved air even quicker – as well as help deal with any negative impact from a potentially expanded airport.  We look forward to the tightening of this zone for HGVs and coaches next year which is at least a step in the right direction.

“While owners of gas guzzling, polluting vehicles are filled with dread at the looming extension of ULEZ, residents who are exposed to dangerous levels of pollution on a daily basis are breathing a sigh of relief at this report and counting down the days when ULEZ covers all of London and they can stop worrying about excess pollution and its associated health risks.” 

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These figures prove without a doubt that ULEZ is exceeding expectations, reducing polluting vehicles and cleaning up our lethal air. I am determined to stop Londoners breathing air so filthy it is damaging our children’s lungs and causing thousands of premature deaths. The ULEZ shows what we can achieve if we are brave enough to implement such ambitious policies. I now hope the Government will match my ambition and amend their environment bill to ensure it has the legally binding WHO- recommended limits to be achieved by 2030 that we need to protect public health.”

Read the full report here.

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