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London mayor to fund air pollution projects

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged £11 million in funding for five ‘low emission neighbourhood’ projects across the capital, designed to help reduce air pollution.

Yesterday’s (19 July) announcement of funding came just a fortnight after the Mayor had launched a consultation into measures aimed at tackling emissions from vehicles across the capital. These plans include proposals to implement a £10 emissions surcharge for high polluting vehicles to drive in the capital (see airqualitynews.com story).

An artist's impression of the planned scheme on Marylebone High Street

An artist’s impression of the planned scheme on Marylebone High Street

Funding is also to be delivered to five projects across eight London boroughs which will include penalties for the most polluting vehicles, car-free days, green taxi ranks for zero emission-capable cabs and parking reserved for the cleanest vehicles.

£5m of the funding will be delivered by Transport for London, whilst the remaining £6m will come from the boroughs.

Projects

The five Low Emissions Neighbourhoods will take place in the following boroughs and proposals include:

  • Westminster – the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood is a partnership between the council and local stakeholders including residents associations and business improvement districts. Proposals includes better management of taxi ranks, improving building emissions and an electric vehicle delivery scheme in conjunction with UPS consolidating freight delivery to cut down on vehicles on the road.
  • Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets – the City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood proposal includes tree planting, an emphasis on walking and cycling with improved pavements and cycle routes, and parking spaces for the sole use of the cleanest vehicles.
  • City of London – the Barbican Low Emission Neighbourhood proposal includes no-idling zones where stationary vehicles must turn off their engines, restricted access to certain streets for all but the cleanest vehicles and green taxi ranks.
  • Greenwich – the Town Centre and Trafalgar Road Low Emissions Neighbourhood proposal includes a series of car-free days in the town centre, an incentive scheme to encourage walking and cycling and an extensive series of mini parks throughout the area.
  • Redbridge and Newham – the Ilford Garden Junction Low Emission Neighbourhood proposal includes a green barrier between the road and pavement to reduce pedestrians’ exposure to fumes, plus other road restrictions.

Commenting on the projects at a special event at City Hall yesterday afternoon, the Mayor said: “Make no mistake: London is in the midst of an air quality crisis. Air pollution is permanently affecting children’s lung development and nearly 10,000 Londoners are dying early every year due to the long-term exposure of London’s dirty air.

“We need urgent and bold action and this includes targeted local initiatives to tackle some of the worst pollution hotspots in London.

“The previous Mayor committed to funding two local projects, but I don’t think this goes far enough.  So I’m delighted to announce that we will now be funding five key areas across London – helping to tackle air pollution and transforming neighbourhoods.

“The action we are taking in the capital is vital, but it’s imperative that our ambition is matched by ministers.  That’s why I’m also calling on government ministers to put in place incentives for people to switch to low-emission vehicles, as well as providing London with additional powers and funding to help tackle this public health crisis.â€?

Westminster

Commenting on the funding award for Westminster, Cllr Heather Acton, cabinet member for sustainability and parking, at the borough said: “This is wonderful news for all our residents, businesses and visitors. We thank Mayor Sadiq Khan for endorsing our proposals. It will mean that we can tackle air quality issues by putting in place new and innovative schemes that will have a real impact on pollution.  This will help improve health and wellbeing and also go a long way towards creating a greener and cleaner city for everyone.

“We have worked in close collaboration with local residents, businesses and land owners, so the environmental outcomes will gather momentum, as partners benefit from each other’s experience and expertise to help build a greener Marylebone.â€?

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