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Rethink call on low-emission zone

The UK automotive industry has asked for a rethink on the standards for London's ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) which is set to take effect from 2020.

Transport for London's proposals for the zone envisage different emission requirements for petrol vehicles and those which are diesel-powered.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has written to London mayor Boris Johnson calling for a harmonisation of standards, with petrol vehicles being subject to the higher, cleaner diesel standard .

Under the existing plans, petrol vehicles up to 14 years old could enter the ULEZ without penalty.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The implementation of the ULEZ will accelerate the take-up of ultra-low and low-emission vehicles, but a harmonisation of standards - a technology-neutral approach - for petrol and diesel vehicles would strengthen the initiative.

"Currently the proposed requirements differ for cars and vans. We are urging London to be more ambitious with a universal standard for both petrol and diesel vans and cars which would remove any confusion, strengthen the uptake of cleaner technology and bring air quality benefits sooner.

"The automotive industry is investing billions of pounds in the UK and abroad to develop technologies to lower vehicle emissions. The ULEZ can accelerate the take-up of these cleaner technologies and bring air quality and carbon reduction benefits to London sooner."

TfL's consultation on ULEZ ends on January 9.

Today, TfL's planning managing director Michele Dix said: "Improving London's air quality is of paramount importance as it affects the health and well-being of every Londoner.

"That's why we are doing everything in our power to address emissions from road transport, with the introduction of a ULEZ core of our work to improve the capital's air. We would urge everyone who lives, works or travels in London to give us their views on the ULEZ proposal."

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