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London targets pollution hotspots

The mayor is already supporting five borough-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods in some of London’s busiest and most highly polluted areas

The London mayor has an ambitious programme to make London’s air safe to breathe
The London mayor has an ambitious programme to make London’s air safe to breathe

London boroughs are invited to bid for a share of £6 million funding to help target local pollution hot spots and improve air quality.

The funding is part of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s £20 million Air Quality Fund that has already supported projects across 29 boroughs including electrifying Hackney Council’s vehicle fleet, fitting low-cost electric charging points onto lamp posts across Hounslow, and establishing a green courier service in Waltham Forest.


“Our filthy toxic air is a national health crisis, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year,” said Khan. “[The] funding will help boroughs to deliver targeted action to complement these strong measures and improve their local areas for the benefit of all Londoners.


He added: “Despite all that I’m doing here in London, we can’t win this battle until the government provides extra resources and delivers a national scrappage fund to get the dirtiest vehicles off our streets and a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century.”


Low Emission Neighbourhoods


As well as working with boroughs on new ideas to target filthy air, part of the £6 million will be used to establish four more Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs), cut emissions from construction machinery, create car-free and low-emission streets, and support people and businesses to start using ultra-low emission vehicles.


Khan recently visited business owners on Francis Road in Leyton who have helped reduce traffic pollution by using a cargo bike and electric vehicle delivery service, supported by a £400,000 City Hall Air Quality Fund grant.


Over the last year the project’s 12 part-time riders have cycled 7,743 km and delivered more than 8,000 packages. Around 25 local businesses use the delivery service every month, alongside The Waltham Forest Library Service which uses the cargo bikes to deliver books to housebound residents across the borough.


Clare Coghill, leader of Waltham Forest Council said around 270 people in the borough die from illnesses related to air pollution every year and has used the fund to put in place the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme and our work with the mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

“Our Mini-Holland scheme has delivered 22km of segregated cycle lanes, 660 new trees, 37 roads closed to through traffic and 15 new pocket parks since 2015. Meanwhile, innovative schemes like replacing delivery vans with cargo bikes have helped local businesses to make a tangible difference," she said.

“We’ve cut the number of households in the borough facing dangerously high levels of air pollution by 90 per cent.”

The Mayor is already supporting five borough-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods in some of London’s busiest and most highly polluted areas: Westminster (Marylebone LEN), City of London, (Barbican LEN)Greenwich (Town Centre and Trafalgar Road LEN), and cross borough neighbourhoods in Redbridge & Newham (Ilford Garden Junction LEN), and Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets (City Fringe LEN). Six smaller Business Low Emission Neighbourhoods are being delivered by the Mayor and business groups.


Positive results


These projects are already achieving positive results with nine streets in Hackney and Islington turned into ultra-low emission zones earlier this month. There’s also been a 16 per cent drop in the number of older, more polluting diesel vehicles parking in the Marylebone LEN and 30 new electric vehicle charge points and 100 new secure cycle stands in car parks in the Barbican.

This latest round of funding will allow London’s councils to complement the Mayor’s ambitious programme to make London’s air safe to breathe. This has already seen the introduction of the world’s first toxicity charge (the T-Charge) for the most polluting cars and the establishment of two low-emission bus zones, with at least four more planned to come into operation by the end of the year.

This will be followed next April by the establishment of an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London and extensive work to transform London’s bus and taxi fleet. This fund will help to complement those big regional measures with targeted local action.

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