Since London launched its ULEZ in 2019, several other cities in England have adopted or announced similar plans for clean air zones. Although no U.S. cities have instituted their own clean air zones, New York has explored congestion zones, while other cities are turning over municipal fleets to electric vehicles.

London’s scheme has shown significant air quality benefits. Within the first six months, air pollution linked to traffic dropped by more than a third in central London, according to a city report. As of May 2021, nitrogen dioxide emissions in that area were also almost halved.

Mayor Khan has announced plans to make the Ultra Low Emissions Zone 18 times larger in October.

The announcement of restrictions and fines has led to rapid fleet turnover. At the end of 2020, more than 92% of heavy-goods vehicles that would drive through London met the new standards, according to EDF. In April, the UK recorded its highest ever monthly volume of new vans registered, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. That fleet turnover extends the pollution reduction benefits well beyond the city center, the EDF analysis found, based on traffic data from September 2019 that reflected a pre-pandemic routine.

"Although these zones are deployed locally, our new data analysis reveals how the true 'reach' of Clean Air Zones goes far beyond their boundary — likely bringing air quality benefits to millions of people in London and across the country," wrote Oliver Lord, head of policy and campaigns for EDF, and Greg Slater, EDF senior data analyst, in a blog post.

Read the full article about London's clean air rules by Jason Plautz at Smart Cities Dive.