London Labour MP and mayoral candidate Diane Abbott has called for the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital by 2018, two years ahead of plans already proposed by current London mayor Boris Johnson.

Abbott secured a Commons debate on London’s poor air quality yesterday (9 June), claiming City Hall has “abjectly failed in their duty to protect Londoners from such a severe public health risk”.

Dianne Abbott

According to the UK Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (UKLPG), pollution contributes to the premature deaths of approximately 3,400 Londoners each year. It is urging the government to support automotive LPG as part of its commitment to improving air quality in urban areas.

The British government has already been ordered by the European Supreme Court to bring air quality up to minimum legal standards, or face millions of pounds in fines.

The UKLPG is hoping that local air quality concerns could spur an increase in automotive LPG take-up to power public transport and local delivery vehicles operating in urban areas. It is urging ministers to support increased take-up of automotive LPG, and to work with the body on the development of low-carbon road transport for both commercial vehicles and motorists.

This could become part of reforms due to be announced in next month’s Budget on 8 July to encourage public transport and local delivery vehicles operating in urban areas to switch from the most polluting diesel vehicles to low-emission models.

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of the UKLPG, said: “As a low-carbon energy, automotive LPG has huge air quality benefits. It is a versatile and flexible fuel with less environmental impact than the alternatives. We would welcome a dialogue with ministers to see how we can support their proposals for lower emissions.”