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London Becomes First City to Use Pollution Charge Zone: Report

London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020, according to the mayor's office

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Environmental campaigners from the direct action group Rebellion demonstrate on Westminster Bridge in central London, Britain. VOA

London is the first city in the world to implement a 24-hour, seven day a week Ultra Low Emission Zone, inside which vehicles will have to meet tough emissions standards or face a charge, media reported.

Monday’s introduction of the zone, known as the ULEZ, aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health, according to a press release from the office of Sadiq Khan, mayor of London.

Vehicles are responsible for around half of harmful nitrogen oxide air emissions in the British capital, contributing to a toxic air health crisis that increases the risk of asthma, cancer and dementia as well as causing thousands of premature deaths every year, the release says.

“This is a landmark day for our city. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation,” Khan said in the statement.

“The ULEZ is the centerpiece of our plans to clean up London’s air — the boldest plans of any city on the planet, and the eyes of the world are on us.”

According to a CNN Business report, under new rules introduced April 8, polluting vehicles will be discouraged from entering the ULEZ thanks to a daily charge of £12.50 (around $16) for some cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 ($130) for trucks, buses and coaches.

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A Facebook billboard advertisement can be seen at Earls Court underground station in London, July 28, 2018. (VOA)

The zone will cover the same area as the existing Congestion Charge — collected from drivers in the city center — until 2021, when it will be expanded to cover the area between the major orbital roads known as the North and South Circular, it added.

Drivers can check whether their vehicle meets ULEZ emission standards using an online tool provided by travel authority Transport for London.

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The ULEZ is the next stage in a plan to clean up London’s air, which started with the so-called T-charge — an extra charge for highly polluting vehicles in the city center — introduced in February 2017.

Since then, the number of vehicles entering the zone has fallen by around 11,000 per day, according to official figures, and there has been a 55 per cent increase in emissions-compliant vehicles in the zone.

London’s famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020, according to the mayor’s office. (IANS)

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London, Paris, Bangkok- Top 3 Travel Destinations in the Past Decade

Bangkok, London, Paris top 3 travel destinations of decade says a new report

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Paris is one among the most travelled cities in the world. Pixabay

While there has been significant movement in visitors to smaller cities, the top 10 have remained largely consistent over the past decade, with London, Paris and Bangkok grabbing the top three spots, according to a new report.

The top three overseas destinations for Indian travellers are Dubai, Singapore and Mecca, revealed the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2019 which ranks 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data.

Since 2009, the number of international overnight visitors grew an astounding 76 per cent, according to the report.

In 2019, Bangkok became the No. 1 destination for the fourth consecutive year, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors.

Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots respectively, both hovering over 19 million.

When looking at the cities by dollars spent, Dubai tops the list with travellers spending $553 on an average per day. Mecca, new to the top 10 last year, remains at No. 2 for the second consecutive year, with Bangkok rounding out the top three.

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Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots respectively, both hovering over 19 million. Pixabay

Between all of the destinations within the Index, arrivals have grown on average 6.5 per cent year-over-year since 2009, with expenditure growing on average 7.4 per cent, said the report.

Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4 per cent.

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In comparison, Europe, which saw the second highest growth, was up 5.5 per cent.

This is spurred by the growth in Chinese travellers. Since 2009, China has jumped up six places to be the No. 2 origin country for travellers to the 200 included destinations – behind only the US, said the report. (IANS)