The extension of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) to include all inner London boroughs will save NHS services in Southwark nearly £100 million by 2050, a study claims, writes Kit Heren…
The ULEZ will expand from central London to the North and South Circular roads on October 25. The zone already includes part of Southwark, from Blackfriars Bridge in the north-west to the Elephant & Castle roundabout in the south, and Tower Bridge Road in the east.
The study, carried out by Lumen Health on behalf of Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, suggests that the ULEZ will cut diseases linked to air pollution in London by nearly 30%, possibly saving the NHS £4 billion in total over the next 30 years.
Some £97.8 million of that could be saved in Southwark – money that can be ploughed back into local services, a local politician said.
Marina Ahmad, who is running as a Labour candidate for Southwark and Lambeth in the London Assembly elections in May, said that protecting local people’s health is a “top priority”.
That is why I am encouraged by the results of this study suggesting many lives could be saved across Southwark as a result of the Mayor’s action to tackle toxic air,” she added.
“This pandemic has demonstrated the incredible commitment of our NHS workers who have been overworked and underfunded for too long. I am glad that the ULEZ will help generate savings of £97,844,081 which can be reinvested in local NHS services protecting the health of Southwark residents for many years to come.”
Anyone who drives in a petrol or diesel vehicle in the ULEZ have to pay a charge of £12.50 per day, or £100 for some heavier lorries and coaches. Some residents and disabled people are exempt.
Many people have welcomed the decision to extend the ULEZ as a way of protecting people against air pollution. Others are concerned about the possible impact on local businesses.