Thousands of deaths in the capital each year are attributed to poor air quality, while emerging evidence suggests there is a link between pollution, higher rates of infection and a worse recovery from coronavirus. We already know how polluted air stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illness, such as asthma, lung and heart disease. In order to maximise the air quality benefits of the scheme it is imperative that all drivers play their part and any discounts, exemptions and reimbursements are minimised. As such, there are no exemptions to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for key workers.
However, I recognise that some drivers, including key workers, may find it difficult to meet the ULEZ standards with their own vehicles, which is why in October 2019 I launched the ULEZ Car and Motorcycle Scrappage Scheme for low income and disabled Londoners. To date nearly £8m of grant payments have been made and over 3,600 people have been helped to take their dirty vehicles taken off the roads.