Five councils have lost their high court challenge against the mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ). The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey County Council said they were ‘hugely disappointed’ with the ruling on Friday, July 28th, adding that the mayor and Transport for London (TfL) ‘do not realise the damage’ the extension of the zone will have when it starts to be implemented next month.
First introduced in central London on April 8, 2019, the ULEZ area was created to help reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the city. It covered the same area as the previous Congestion Charge Zone but had stricter emission requirements. Vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ standards have to pay £12.50, daily, to drive within the zone. All 33 boroughs of Greater London, in some places bordering the M25, are expected to be part of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) from 29 August 2023.
“This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on 29 August. The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.”, said The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about his Landmark High Court win
However, as the cost of living continues to impact the finances of millions of people across the UK, many motorists in London fear they may end up impacted by the upcoming tax and may will need to certain areas of the city once it become part of the ultra-low emission zone.
“While the principle of cleaning up London’s air is the right one, it has come at a time where drivers can ill afford to replace their vehicles during a cost-of-living crisis. This is being made by worse by new evidence which shows drivers are having to pay far more than they should have to purchase a compliant vehicle on the second-hand car market. We’d very much like to see additional support given to certain key workers, both inside the capital and in neighbouring counties, who depend on their vehicles to help them switch to cleaner ones as affordably as possible.”, says Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC.
Where is Ulez currently in London?
When Ulez was first introduced in 2019, it only covered a small area of central London, known as the congestion charge zone. It was expanded in 2021 to include boroughs in inner London like Tower Hamlets and Southwark.
Since 2021, Ulez has covered the following areas of inner London:
- City of London
- City of Westminster
- Tower Hamlets
Now, it will expand to cover Greater London, affecting boroughs like Barnet, Upminster, Wimbledon, and Wembley.
Where will Ulez expand to?
Ulez will expand to cover all areas in Greater London. Here are some of the more populous London areas Ulez will expand to on August 29, 2023:
- Biggin Hill
- Kingston upon Thames
You can use a tool on TfL’s website to see if the Ulez expansion will affect you. The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) operates 24 hours a day, midnight to midnight, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December).
Over 90% of the cars seen driving regularly in outer London on an average day are ULEZ-compliant, but for the small proportion of non-compliant vehicles the Mayor has introduced a £110million scrappage scheme to help low-income and disabled Londoners and small businesses. The Mayor has always listened to concerns raised by Londoners and so from Monday 31 July the scheme expands further so that every family in receipt of child benefit in London (more than 870,000 people) and every small business is eligible for thousands of pounds in financial support if they have a non-compliant vehicle.
Only half of young people able to identify definition of climate change
Most children and young people say they have heard of climate change but only half understand what it is, according to a new UNICEF-Gallup poll, as world leaders gather at this year’s COP28.
The global poll found that on average, 85 per cent of young people aged 15-24 surveyed in 55 countries said they have heard of climate change, yet just 50 per cent of those chose the correct definition as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when asked to select between “seasonal changes in weather that occur every year” and “more extreme weather events and a rise in average world temperatures resulting from human activity”.
“Young people have been some of the biggest heroes in driving action to address the impact of climate change. They have been calling for climate action on the streets or in meeting rooms, and we need to do even more to ensure that all children and young people understand the crisis that hangs over their future,” says UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “At COP28, leaders must commit to ensuring that children and young people are educated on the problem, considered in discussions, and engaged in decisions that will shape their lives for decades to come.”
Climate change knowledge among young people was found to be lowest in lower-middle- and low-income countries – those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – such as Pakistan (19 per cent), Sierra Leone (26 per cent) and Bangladesh (37 per cent).
According to The Children’s Climate Risk Index, published by UNICEF in 2021, children in all three countries are classified as at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, threatening their health, education, and protection, and exposing them to deadly diseases.
The global poll – a follow-up to the initial Changing Childhood Project in 2021 – analyzes results from UNICEF’s subset of 2023 Gallup World Poll questions. Alongside climate change, it explores two long-term challenges shaping the lives of children and young people – trust in information, and constraints on political change in a globalized world.
When it comes to trust in information, the results show that 60 per cent of young people surveyed use social media as their primary source of news and information, yet only 23 per cent have a lot of trust in information on those platforms. In fact, social media is the least trusted information source across all institutions in the poll.
In line with the initial Changing Childhood findings, the data reflects how globalization is impacting this generation, with 27 per cent of young respondents identifying as citizens of the world – higher than any other age group polled.
In August, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child affirmed the children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, following the recognition of the UN General Assembly in July 2022 that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. The guidance explicitly addressed the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution, and outlined countermeasures to protect the lives and life perspectives of children.
Despite these rights, ratified by 196 states under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that children are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, children are largely disregarded in the decisions made to address the climate crisis, meaning their unique vulnerabilities, needs and contributions are often overlooked.
Barcelona launches awards for sustainable digitalisation projects
Mobile World Capital Barcelona has announced the launch of international awards to recognise the best innovative projects in sustainable digital transformation. The Foundation will reward the public or private proposals that are best aligned with compliance with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.
With these awards, MWCapital aims to take a step towards highlighting the role of technology as a driver of change to generate a positive impact on society and the economy and, therefore, on the planet. This is also reflected in the development of the maxim that will govern MWCapital’s activity, which goes from Technology Matters to Humanising Technology.
This launch took place today at the presentation of MWCapital’s new Strategic Plan, which was attended by the Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, the Minister of Enterprise and Employment of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, and the new Minister of Digital Transformation of the Government of Spain, José Luis Escrivá, who has recently joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Also participating were the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd, the CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., John Hoffman, the President of Fira de Barcelona, Pau Relat, and the CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Francesc Fajula.
Since its inception, Mobile World Capital Barcelona has been a pioneer in showing how technology can improve people’s quality of life and contribute to the overall well-being of society. The Foundation will focus on Tech4Good, promoting technological projects and scalable digital services that have a mission to generate a positive impact on society and the economy; Digital talent, promoting the generation and attraction of digital talent so as to position Barcelona as the benchmark in this field, and technology transfer, occupying a unique space in Europe in the ecosystem of initiatives to support the creation of scientific spin-offs.
During the presentation, Francesc Fajula, CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, and John Hoffman, CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., announced the first strategic alliance to confirm the city of Barcelona as a benchmark in the field of sustainable digital solutions.
Technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will be explored to develop scalable projects and to face the challenges linked to technological progress in society.
10 European cities awarded by EU for plans to reach climate-neutrality by 2030
10 European cities have been awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, one of the EU Missions in Horizon Europe. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises the cities’ plans to achieve climate-neutrality already by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding towards that objective.
The cities that have received the label are: Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain),Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden).
The EU Mission Label is an acknowledgement of the successful development of Climate City Contracts, which outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality, and contain an action plan as well as an investment strategy. Cities co-create their Climate City Contracts with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. A first group of cities presented their Contracts in April 2023, which were reviewed by the Commission with the support of experts, including from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Following a positive review, cities receive an EU Mission Label, which is intended to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, in particular private investment.
In total, 100 EU cities participate in the EU Cities Mission, with 12 additional cities from countries associated to Horizon Europe.
The Commission, through the Mission Platform, will continue to support cities with hands-on advice and funding programmes, such as a €32 million pilot programme combined with a twinning programme. Another call for pilot cities with a budget of €20 million is currently open until 6 November.
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