Londoners back ban on diesel cars from city centre roads

A YouGov poll suggests most Londoners want diesel vehicles banned

Most Londoners want diesel cars banned from all the capital’s city centre roads, according to a new poll.

This is one of the strongest indications yet that public opinion is turning against diesel vehicle drivers.

The issue is set to come under the microscope with the peak pollution season of summer just around the corner and the London elections due next month.

It’s sure to be a major talking point in the run-up to polling day, with concerns increasing over links between road pollution and illnesses such as asthma.

The poll results are sure to put pressure on whoever wins on 5th May to fast-track new measures to encourage us to ditch our diesels and switch to lower-emissions vehicles.

Stat attack
The YouGov poll of 1,031 Londoners shows that:

  • 21% strongly support a diesel ban in central London
  • 31% tend to support such a ban
  • 19% tend to oppose it
  • 11% strongly oppose it
  • 19% are undecided

The survey also finds that:

  • On diesel buses: 55% support a ban and 26% oppose it
  • On diesel taxis: 54% back a ban, while 28% oppose it
  • On diesel HGVs: 62% support a ban and 20% oppose it

But if diesel vehicles are to remain on London’s roads then:

  • 69% say diesel drivers should pay more
  • 15% say they should not pay any extra
  • 16% remain undecided

So what are officials doing about the road pollution problem?
Current London Mayor Boris Johnson says that the capital’s 1,700 hybrid buses represent the biggest green fleet in Europe.

This number is set to nearly double to 3,300 by 2020.

An additional eight fuel cell-powered buses and 17 e-buses will add to this stable, while steps are being taken to make London’s taxis cleaner.

What London mayoral candidates are promising

  • Zac Goldsmith (Conservative): He wants Greater London to be totally “pollution-free”. His “Clean Bus Corridors” plan aims to allocate the capital’s cleanest buses to the “dirtiest” routes in terms of air pollution
  • Sadiq Khan (Labour): A London under his power will exclusively mean hydrogen or totally electric buses by the beginning of the next decade, he claims

What the experts say
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews says the clean technology is already here, so keeping dirty diesel-powered buses on the roads is inexcusable.

Clean Air in London campaign group director Simon Birkett says that Boris Johnson has an “awful” bus pollution record. He says that battery problems mean that the Mayor’s so-called “New Bus for London” cannot run on electricity. He says 300 of these diesel-electric buses will fail to hit Mr Johnson’s Ultra Low Emission Zone targets in 2020.