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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
200 pollution charge for lorries
Lorries
London currently suffers the worst air pollution in the UK
London's mayor has announced plans to charge lorries, buses and coaches that do not meet new low emission targets 200 a day to drive into the city.

Ken Livingstone said the London-wide Low Emission Zone, which will be the largest in the world, will come in to force in February 2008.

The zone hopes to reduce emissions by 16% by 2012.

But the Road Haulage Association said it would be very expensive to implement and would give minimal benefits.

The zone will use cameras to record licence plates and check them against the DVLA database and other records to see if the vehicles meet European emissions standards.

Now that the full cost and meagre benefits are known, the responsible course of action for the mayor to take is to abandon the scheme
Roger King, Road Haulage Association

London currently suffers the worst air pollution in the UK and some of the poorest in Europe. The latest government figures show that roadside air pollution in London has been on the rise for the last two years.

The most recent survey of Londoners, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that 72% of Londoners are worried about pollution from traffic exhaust fumes.

"In a modern world city, people should have the opportunity to live and work without fear of being poisoned by the air they breathe," Mr Livingstone said.

The plan was welcomed by the British Lung Foundation and the British Heart Foundation as a "positive step".

'No carrot'

But a spokesman for the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it had "consistently and alone, opposed the imposition of the London low emission zone from the start".

"Now that the full cost and meagre benefits are known, the responsible course of action for the mayor to take is to abandon the scheme altogether," the RHA's chief executive Roger King said.

Baroness Valentine, chief executive of business group London First, also welcomed the move but said there were no incentives to encourage people to go green.

"The Low Emission Zone is a tax disguised as an environmental measure. It's all stick and no carrot.

"It's a blunt device, which doesn't take account of vehicles' actual contribution to congestion, airborne pollutants or climate change - just their official vehicle licensing status," she said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ken Livingston announces there will be low emmision zone charge



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