London mayor Sadiq Khan announces new vehicle emissions checker to combat pollution will be released later this year

Lian Parsons
The mayor is making an effort to combat the infamous London fog
The mayor is making an effort to combat the infamous London fog (Source: Getty Images )

Breathe easy, Londoners; Sadiq Khan has announced an initiative to reduce pollution and help car buyers make more environmentally conscious decisions.

What is it?

The London mayor along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo have unveiled a new vehicle scoring system.

The Clean Vehicle Checker will show drivers in both cities how much toxic nitrogen oxides, or NOx, new cars emit to encourage people to purchase “cleaner” cars.

How does it work?

Consumers will be able to type in the model of the vehicle they’re considering and find out the details of its on-the-road emissions as an alternative to tests from official manufacturers. Each model of car will be allocated a score based on the air pollutants they release in real-world, on-road conditions.

The checker will be available online this autumn.

Why do we need it?

With the current system, cars must pass Euro Standards emissions testing, which is limited to laboratory tests and only regulate select pollutants. Emissions on the road can be up to 15 times greater than in laboratory conditions.

“Dieselgate” made headlines in 2015 when Volkswagen fitted cars with software designed to pass emissions tests, regardless of whether or not the cars actually met the requirements. Khan himself demanded the company reimburse TfL £2.5m in congestion charges last year.

The goals of the checker, according to the mayor’s website, are to help people make informed choices, be more environmentally conscious, encourage manufacturers to produce more low-emission cars and to “lead by example”.">

This isn't necessarily without cause, either; five days into 2017, London had already exceeded its air pollution limit.

What the mayor said

Khan said:

“My scheme will put an end to the smoke and mirrors that have been employed in official emissions tests.

“This scheme is also a fantastic example of how big cities around the world can pool their expertise and their influence to encourage big industry to clean up its act.

The toxicity of the air in London and many other big cities is an outrage, and schemes of the type we are introducing in London and Paris have the potential to make a massive difference to the quality of the air we all breathe.

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