The number of clean air zones in Europe has increased by 40% since 2019, taking older and more polluting vehicles off the roads. new research based on EU data.
Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are now in place in 320 European cities and this number is expected to more than halve to 507 by 2025.
All 10 of Europe’s most popular tourist cities now restrict the occupancy of petrol and diesel vehicles, with stricter rules expected within three years in existing LEZs including London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin.
Oliver Lord, head of the UK’s Clean Cities Campaign, which carried out the study, said the new analysis showed that cities covered by LEZs such as Bristol, Birmingham and London were on the right side of history.
“Clean air zones are one of the most effective ways to combat toxic air in our cities,” he said. “We should applaud city leaders who are making tough decisions to create clean air zones so we can change the air we breathe and ditch polluting cars.”
Air pollution is “public health emergency» is responsible for more than 300,000 of premature deaths per year in the EU, according to data World Health Organization.
Dirty air is considered reduce global life expectancy by nearly two years on average, making it the single greatest environmental threat to human health.
But clean air zones have proven to be an effective countermeasure. In Madrid a a drop of 32%. in NO2 concentrations were observed after the introduction of the LEZ in 2018.
In Great Britain a public consultation Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s initiative to expand the city’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) to cover the whole of the capital next year is due to end at the end of July.
Jemima Hartshorne, founder of Mums for Lungs, told the Guardian: “We have just seen how effective London Ulez has been in reducing air pollution. There was a 20% drop in NO.2 since the zone was expanded. It’s great to hear that a growing number of other European cities are also taking air quality seriously.”
Italy tops the clean air table in Europe with 172 declared clean air zones, compared to 78 in Germany, 17 in the UK, 14 in the Netherlands and 8 in France.
Several LEZs have been established in Central and Eastern Europe, but Poland and Bulgaria are expected to open new zones in the coming months.
Now is the time to step up action by moving to zero-emission zones (ZEZs) ahead of the planned phase-out of new fossil-fuelled cars, new research says. EU by 2035 and Great Britain until 2030.
Up to 35 ZEZs are planned to be built in Europe by 2030, of which 26 are exclusively for delivery vehicles in the Netherlands. Smaller pollution-free zones are planned for the same year in parts of Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Heidelberg, Milan, Oslo, Rome, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Birmingham, Liverpool and Greater Manchester.
Two small-scale schemes are already up and running in Oxford and parts of central London.