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Britain's first zero-emissions street to ban all petrol and diesel cars

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 16/12/2019 Katie O'Neill
the exhaust gases of the car white thick smoke from the chimney in the winter against the white snow, pollution ecology © Getty the exhaust gases of the car white thick smoke from the chimney in the winter against the white snow, pollution ecology

A heavily-polluted road which is partially enclosed will become Britain’s first zero-emissions street where all petrol and diesel cars will be banned. Beech Street which runs under the Barbican Estate in London will only be accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and zero emission vehicles from Spring 2020 as part of a new City of London initiative. 

Cars that breach the ban will be fined £130. Electric and hydrogen vehicles will be permitted to access the street while hybrid vehicles may only use it if they have the capability to drive for at least 20 miles in zero-emission mode. The petrol and diesel ban will be enforced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

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Beech Street experiences high levels of air pollution as it is a busy, enclosed thoroughfare, the City of London said. A significant improvement in air quality is expected. Emergency and refuse collection vehicles will be exempt from the ban. The 153 bus route which is fully electric will continue to be allowed to access Beech Street. The trial will also consider whether other London streets should adopt similar measures. 

The petrol and diesel vehicle ban will be first rolled out as an 18-month trial during which air quality and traffic will be monitored. If successful, the ban may be made permanent. The aim of the scheme is to bring nitrogen dioxide levels within air quality guidelines set out by the World Health Organisation and EU. 

Smoke Coming from Exhaust Pipe of a Car © Getty Smoke Coming from Exhaust Pipe of a Car Oliver Sells QC, chairman of the Streets and Walkways planning and transport committee vowed the scheme would bring “substantial health benefits” to those who live and work in teh Barbican area. “It will also help to reduce noise pollution” he said. “The experimental scheme will be enforced using the latest in smart camera technology and I hope it will be the first of many other schemes like this.”

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