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A proposed new central London low-emission zone could be introduced at the end of the decade, Boris Johnson announced today.

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Transport for London will start work on preparing a consultation on the proposal, which would be implemented in 2020, once the capital’s bus and taxi fleet is fully hybrid - and after the Mayor is expected to leave his post.

But the next phase of London’s low emission zone, due to be implemented in 2015, will no longer include all HGVs, buses and coaches as originally planned.

The Mayor said this decision would save £350million in costs for businesses using vehicles that would have been affected by the changes.

He said: “Creating the world’s first big city ultra low emission zone has the potential to be a game changing moment in the quality of life of our great capital.

“My vision is a central zone where almost all the vehciles running during working hours are either zero or low emission.

“This would deliver incredible benefits in air quality and stimulate the delivery and mass use of low emission technology.”

In addition, £2million will be available for London’s boroughs to devleop schemes to improve air quality in certain areas.

London Assembly member Stephen Knight, of the Liberal Democrats, was dismissive of the announcement.

“After years of dithering in tackling air pollution the Mayor has once again failed Londoners,” he said.

“It is a great shame that the Mayor has taken so long to even recognise the merits of such an Ultra Low Emission Zone, despite the policy being repeatedly recommended to him.

“Even now he seems in no hurry to take any decisive action and is happy to leave the policy to be implemented by his successor.

“The Mayor is also making a huge mistake by only including TfL’s bus fleet in phase five of London’s wider low emission zone.”

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