The re-introduction of the London congestion charge exemption for vehicles powered by autogas LPG and incentives to convert to vehicles to the alternative fuel, could help to save the lives and improve the health of thousands of Londoners.

The claim comes from Autogas Limited following research by King’s College London which revealed that 9,400 people die each year in London as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution, more than twice as many people as previously thought.

The premature deaths are caused by two key pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates (PM2.5) which are both significantly lower in vehicles powered by autogas LPG compared with both petrol and diesel. Autogas says NO2 emissions from autogas vehicles are up to 80% lower than diesel and particulates are up to 98% lower than diesel.

“These latest figures are incredibly worrying and show that immediate action is required by the Mayor’s office to protect the health and save the lives of those living and travelling into the city,” said Linda Gomersall, general manager, Autogas.

“In the past, incentives were available to those converting to LPG. Motorists travelling into the Capital on autogas LPG were also rewarded for taking the cleaner option by receiving a 100% discount from the congestion charge. However, since the Mayor’s office removed this discount and the wider conversion incentive was withdrawn, many drivers fail to consider this cleaner alternative, often going back to more heavily polluting diesels. By re-introducing the discount for LPG powered cars and offering conversion incentives once again, many motorists will be encouraged back to the cleaner fuel and we can start making an immediate improvement in London’s air quality.

“Autogas has a vital role to play in helping clean up our environment. Earlier this week the London Assembly announced a number of recommendations to help improve air quality but treating LPG in a similar manner to other low polluting fuel sources with discounts and incentives would help make an immediate improvement.”