London’s Pollution Plan As Costly As A Castle

FlagIt looks like London might have to pawn off some crown jewels as Mayor Boris Johnson tries to enact a diesel car scrappage scheme. The plan aims to cut air pollution in the historic city by taking more than 150,000 polluting diesel vehicles off of London’s roads. However, taking high-polluting vehicles off the streets is going to come at a high cost.

Johnson spoke to the Members of Parliament (MPs) September 10th, regarding plans to cut air pollution in London. The mayor revealed a scheme to pay diesel car owners up to £2,000 (approximately $3,200) to switch to cleaner cars. He told the MPs, “You could do a diesel scrappage scheme that would stimulate the market for cleaner vehicles. I think we’re saying it should be £1-2,000 for people who have been seduced into buying a diesel vehicle and I feel very sorry for them. Millions were told they were doing the right thing, the environmentally-friendly thing, by buying a diesel.”

Paying between 150,000 and 300,000 diesel car owners to buy greener vehicles could set the city back a palace or two. The estimated cost of the scrappage scheme is £300 million, or about $486 million. Yet, London’s Oxford Street has reported dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and since the city is predicted to fall short of the EU standards on NO2 pollution until 2030, this might be one of the few quick options available.

The mayor originally set out to boost electric car sales in 2009, with a goal of installing 25,000 electric car chargers by 2015. Instead, a mere 1,400 have been installed so far. Johnson believes the delay has been due to a slow-moving market caused by high costs. He said, “The reality is the market has not developed in the way we had hoped … They are still priced pretty uncompetitively.” Perhaps a little cash from Parliament will be the way to boost clean car sales. If there aren’t enough funds though, Buckingham Palace could always hold a garage sale… I know I’ve been dying to get my hands on a new sceptre.



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