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London drivers ditching diesel cars six times faster than rest of UK

diesel cars

London drivers ditching diesel cars six times faster than rest of UK

Drivers in London have abandoned diesel cars six times faster than those in the rest of the UK since Sadiq Khan announced plans for a massive expansion of the London’s clean air zone.

Research released days before London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) is rolled out across the capital shows there are about 128,000 fewer diesel cars on the city’s roads than in 2017, when the mayor announced plans to create one of the biggest clean air zones in Europe.

Oliver Lord, the head of Clean Cities Campaign UK, which carried out the research, said: “The expansion of the ultra-low emission zone is monumental and has turbo-charged the end of diesel cars in London.”

But he said Khan needed to go further if he wanted to reach his target for London to be carbon neutral by 2030. He added: “There is only one way to go: petrol and diesel cars out. Active, shared and electric mobility in.”

Plans for the central London Ulez were unveiled in 2017 and a year later Khan announced it would be rolled out to the north and south circular – a ring road around the capital.

Under the scheme, the expanded version of which comes into force on Monday, the most polluting vehicles will be charged £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 for coaches and HGVs. Petrol vehicles registered before 2005 and diesel vehicles before 2015 are likely to be liable for the charge.

Worldwide air pollution is cutting short the lives of billions of people by up to six years, making it a far greater killer than smoking, car crashes or HIV/Aids. A battery of recent scientific reports reveal it could be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body and is responsible for 8.8 million early deaths each year.

Last year, a study found health costs of air pollution from roads are higher in London than any other city in Europe with children and older people often hit worst.

According to the study, there was a 15% reduction in diesel cars in London from 2017-20 – more than six times the trend seen elsewhere in the UK. This fall in polluting diesels has contributed to a drastic reduction in toxic air in the capital, with a 94% fall in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide between 2016 and 2019.

Clean air campaigners have welcomed the expansion of the zone, which will come into force on Monday. Jemima Hartshorn, the founder of the campaign group Mums for Lungs, said the expanded zone would shield millions more Londoners from toxic air. “This is a significant moment in our fight for kids to breathe clean air. The mayor must continue pushing to get toxic diesel off our streets and protect our children’s health.”

There are concerns that many motorists do not understand the detail of the pending changes and campaigners are calling on the mayor to support the least well off to move away from older, polluting vehicles.

Although clean air campaigners and those concerned about the climate crisis have welcomed the Ulez expansion, many are angry that the mayor is still pushing ahead with a new four-lane road tunnel under the Thames.

Critics of the £2bn Silvertown tunnel scheme, including climate scientists, senior Labour politicians and doctors, say the huge road-building programme will worsen air pollution and lock in high-carbon transport for generations.

Victoria Rance, from the Stop the Silvertown Tunnel campaign, said: “While we welcome the expansion of Ulez, the mayor can not be taken seriously on climate or air pollution as long as he insists on pushing ahead with this project.”

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UK’s Truss defends economic plan that sent pound tumbling

UK’s Truss defends economic plan that sent pound tumbling

British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday defended her economic plan and shrugged off the negative reaction from financial markets, saying she’s willing to make “difficult decisions” to get the economy growing.

In her first public comments since the government’s announcement of billions in uncosted tax cuts roiled markets and drove the pound to record lows, Truss said Britain was facing “very, very difficult economic times.” But she said the problems were global and spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She spoke after the Bank of England took emergency action Wednesday to stabilize U.K. financial markets and head off a crisis in the broader economy after the government spooked investors with a program of unfunded tax cuts, sending the pound tumbling and the cost of government debt soaring.

Truss told BBC local radio that “we had to take urgent action to get our economy growing, get Britain moving and also deal with inflation.”

“Of course lots of measures we have announced won’t happen overnight. We won’t see growth come through overnight,” she said. “What is important is that we are putting this country on a better trajectory for the long term.”

In a series of interviews, Truss said her government’s decision to cap energy bills for households and businesses would help tame inflation and help millions of people facing a cost of living crisis.

But it was not that decision that alarmed the markets. It was the government’s announcement on Friday of an economic stimulus program that included 45 billion pounds ($48 billion) of tax cuts and no spending reductions — without an independent economic assessment of the cost and impact.

The Bank of England warned that crumbling confidence in the economy posed a “material risk to U.K. financial stability,” and said it would buy long-term government bonds over the next two weeks to combat a recent slide in British financial assets.

The bank’s former governor, Mark Carney said that the government and the central bank appeared to be pulling in different directions.

“Unfortunately having a partial budget, in these circumstances — tough global economy, tough financial market position, working at cross-purposes with the Bank — has led to quite dramatic moves in financial markets,” he told the BBC.

The pound traded at around $1.08 on Thursday, above its record low of $1.0373 on Monday. It has lost some 4% of its value since Friday.

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Stimulus Packages Provided During Pandemic Triggered Inflation- CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has attributed the rising inflationary rates to the stimulus packages provided to citizens during and after the pandemic.

It added that although this increased spending, it also created global supply challenges.

CBN’s director, Monetary Policy Department, Hassan Mahmoud, said this on Wednesday at a post-MPC briefing tagged: “Unveiling Facts behind the Figures’’.

The Monetary Policy Committee had on Tuesday, unanimously voted to increase interest rate to 15.5 per cent.

“A lot of households and small businesses were injected with stimuluses; the U.S did two trillion dollars, Nigeria did about five trillion Naira, these increased the ability of people to spend.

“But the supply side could not meet up with the demand because that volume of injection was far more than the regular intake for those economies, this made prices go up,’’ he said.

Mahmoud also blamed the Russian-Ukraine war, as well as the resurgence of COVID-19 in China for the rise in global inflationary trend.

“That region accounts for more than 50 per cent of global commodity supply and 38 per cent of global oil and gas supply. The war resulted in some shortages which made prices go up.

“Then the COVID-19 lockdown in China. The country is the largest importer of commodities across the globe,’’ he added.

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China’s yuan slides to 14-year low against US dollar

China’s yuan slides to 14-year low against US dollar

China’s yuan fell to a 14-year low against the dollar Wednesday despite US central bank efforts to stem the slide after U.S. interest rate hikes prompted traders to convert money into dollars in search of higher returns.

A weaker yuan helps Chinese exporters by making their goods cheaper abroad, but it encourages capital to flow out of the economy. That raises costs for Chinese borrowers and sets back the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to boost weak economic growth.

The yuan fell to 7.2301 to the dollar, its lowest level since January 2008. One yuan was worth about 13.8 cents, down 15% from its March high.

The yuan has exceeded expectations it might fall to 7 to the dollar after the Federal Reserve started aggressive rate hikes to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high. The Fed has raised rates five times this year and says more increases are likely.

By contrast, the People’s Bank of China has cut interest rates to boost growth that fell to 2.2% over a year earlier in the first six months of 2022 — less than half the official 5.5% target.

The yuan is allowed to fluctuate up or down 2% from its starting price each day in tightly controlled trading. That prevents big daily swings, but down days can add up to a big change over time.

To shore up the exchange rate, Beijing cut the amount of foreign currency deposits Chinese banks are required to hold as reserves to 6% from 8% as of Sept. 15. That increases the amount of dollars and other foreign currency available to buy yuan, which should push up the exchange rate.

Still, that reserve cut is unlikely to stop a slide that is driven by “a strong U.S. dollar and the expectation of more Federal Reserve hikes,” said Iris Pang of ING in a report.

“Less aggressive rate hike talk” might help the yuan rally, but it might weaken further “if the Fed maintains its very hawkish tone” into next year, Pang wrote.

Chinese officials have previously promised to avoid “competitive devaluation” to gain an advantage in trade.

The yuan sank in 2019 during trade tension with then-President Donald Trump. That prompted suggestions Beijing was trying to reduce the impact of U.S. tariff hikes, but there was no official confirmation. The currency later strengthened.

Other governments also are struggling to manage capital flows under pressure from Fed rate hikes. On Friday, Vietnam’s central bank raised a key interest rate in what economists said appeared to be an effort to stop an outflow of money in search of higher returns.

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