Khan Cites ‘Health Emergency’ as he Ramps up Air Pollution Fight

London Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed to accelerate existing plans to fight air pollution in order to tackle what he called a “health emergency” that kills thousands in the U.K. capital every year.

Khan proposed introducing a year from now an emissions surcharge in central London to supplement the existing congestion charge on vehicles with an additional 10-pound ($12.40) fee payable by more-polluting cars, motorbikes and trucks. He also plans to bring forward by a year to 2019 a plan to introduce an “Ultra-Low Emission Zone” stretching from the North Circular road to the South Circular road.

Khan has made cleaning up London’s filthy air a priority, with studies showing that some 9,400 Londoners die prematurely because of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and particulates. He’s already pledged to deploy cleaner buses along key routes and has introduced toxic air warnings at bus stops.

“Toxic air in London is a health emergency that requires bold action, including introducing charges for older polluting vehicles and expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone,” Khan said. “I am determined to help every Londoner breathe cleaner air.”

Monday’s plans are being put to a public consultation that closes on Dec. 18, and Khan’s office plans a second consultation early next year to consult on its final proposals.

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