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Charge for health

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The London city congestion charge celebrated its fifth birthday last month with the news that it had made a minor contribution to improving human health. Scientists at two London institutes calculate that since February 2003 1888 extra years of life have been saved among the seven million population of London. Inside the charge zone, an extra 183 years of life have been saved for every 100 000 residents.

Lifetime costs

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The Commission’s long-awaited draft legislation on the rules for public authorities to buy road vehicles came out in December, and as expected they will require all authorities in the EU to consider the lifetime cost of pollution emissions and fuel consumption. The principle of bodies such as public transport authorities paying more for vehicles that are environmentally better than cheaper options has been accepted for some time, but the new legislation proposes a harmonised EU methodology for calculating the lifecycle costs of fuel, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter. One study predicts the proposed law could save up to 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2017.

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