‘Electric streets’ scheme banning petrol and diesel cars in Old Street and Shoreditch set to begin

Plan to turn St Paul Street in Shoreditch into London's first 'electric' thoroughfare

Plan to turn St Paul Street in Shoreditch into London's first 'electric' thoroughfare - Credit: TFL

The UK’s first scheme banning the dirtiest vehicles from roads will be rolled out across areas of Shoreditch and Old Street in 10 days’ time.

During peak hours nine roads in two zones will be restricted to walking, cycling and ultra-low emissions vehicles only – that is, those that emit less than 75g/km of CO2.

That’s bad news for drivers of petrol, diesel or older hybrid vehicles, who will be slapped with a fine if they do venture into the camera-covered no-go areas.

The affected roads under the new scheme are Blackall Street, Cowper Street, Paul Street, Tabernacle Street, Ravey Street, Singer Street, Willow Street, Charlotte Road and Rivington Street.

The scheme, funded through Sadiq Khan’s air quality fund and the government’s go ultra low city scheme, has been signed off by both Hackney and Islington councils.

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney’s transport chief, said that the policy would “reclaim the streets from polluting petrol and diesel vehicles” and make them safer for people walking and cycling.

“Our ultimate goal is to reclaim the streets from polluting motor vehicles,” she added. “This ground-breaking scheme is the first step towards doing that.”

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Cllr Demirci’s Islington counterpart, Cllr Claudia Webbe, added: “This ground-breaking proposal for ‘electric streets’ – the first of its kind in the UK – will prioritise low pollution transport such as electric cars and cut polluting vehicles during peak hours in the streets surrounding Central Foundation Boys School in Islington – the most polluted state secondary in London.”

Business group the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has spoken out against the move, saying it will damage the economy.

Policy manager Denise Beedell said: “This new scheme is effectively a ban on HGVs, given that there is currently no availability of these types of vehicles on the market or even a definition of an Ultra-Low Emission Truck.

“It is a real shame that Hackney Council did not engage with us at the earliest stages of developing this scheme as we could have helped them avoid these pitfalls.”