FOI request detail


Request ID: FOI-2081-2122
Date published: 13 January 2022

You asked

One of the initial targets of ULEZ set out in April 2019 was that 100,000 fewer Londoners would live in areas with illegal air quality limits from 2021. Has this target been achieved?

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-2081-2122

Thank you for your request received on 13 December 2021 asking for information about the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations and our information access policy. 

The consultation in 2018 for expanding the ULEZ included estimates of the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding NO2 limit values. It was estimated that about two million Londoners were living in areas exceeding the limit values for NO2 in 2013 and 2016, and this would reduce dramatically to about 270,000 people with the Central London ULEZ. It was estimated in the consultation that in 2021 without the further expansion of the ULEZ there would be around 130,000 Londoners still living in areas above NO2 legal limits, but with the expansion of the ULEZ and tightening of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) this was expected to reduce to around 30,000 people – or 100,000 fewer.
Modelling of Londonwide concentrations for 2021 cannot yet be undertaken as the necessary data is not available until many months after the end of the year, however we have recently updated the 2019 modelling as part of the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI). The modelling for 2019 includes the impacts associated with the operation of the central London ULEZ. It does not include the introduction of tougher standards for the Londonwide LEZ or the ULEZ expansion as these were not yet operational. However, any pre-compliance that may have been taken by vehicle owners would be reflected in fleet composition data for vehicles – for example, TfL bus preparation for the tougher LEZ standards. It is important to note that this pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking these changes and wider emissions, we estimate that the number of people living in areas above the legal limits to be 170,000 in 2019. This indicates that we are on track to deliver the expected improvements in exposure and reduce the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of pollution.
If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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