Wandsworth council is to lobby for the establishment of further ‘Low Emission Bus Zones’ in the borough, having reported a ‘general decline in air pollutant concentrations’ in 2017.
The news comes after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the establishment of five new Low Emission Bus Zones across the capital – making a total of seven such zones across London – including two in effect in Wandsworth (see airqualitynews.com story).
The zones see older, more polluting buses taken out of service on routes where levels of NO2 air pollution are known to be high, and replaced with retrofitted or newer models which meet the Euro VI emissions standard.
Putney High Street was one of two initial areas to be designated as a Low Emission Bus Zone in 2017, having consistently been one of the first sites across London to breach the 200 µgm/m3 hourly nitrogen dioxide concentration limit. A second LEBZ covering Wandsworth to St John Hill has since been set up in 2018.
Wandsworth believes that the introduction of cleaner buses has contributed to improvements in air pollution witnessed in 2017.
According to the council’s own data from a monitoring site on Putney High Street, NO2 levels breached the hourly limit on a total of nine occasions in 2017, compared to 403 breaches recorded in 2016.
Another nearby monitoring site on Putney High Street, which is located closer to the roadside, recorded a total of 76 hours above the legal limit, which despite meaning that the site missed its target, was a vast reduction on the 1,272 hourly exceedances recorded at the same site in 2016.
Traffic flow improvements and a ban on delivery vehicles have also contributed to the fall in Putney pollution levels, the council claims.
The council has also reported an improvement in the amount of particulate matter emitted – in particular around the Battersea and Nine Elms area, which has been attributed to work to limit emissions from construction projects in the locality.
The council’s transport and air quality spokesman, Jonathan Cook, said: “This report shows that our hard work in cleaning up Wandsworth’s air is paying off, but we must not be complacent as it is still too high. Tackling air pollution is a priority across London, and we are determined to do all we can.
“We have always pushed for other parts of the borough to benefit from lower emission buses, and I’m pleased that TfL has listened. We will also continue to work with the construction industry and local businesses, community groups and residents on this issue, and will continue to lobby for cleaner public transport options. Together as a borough we can make our air cleaner and safer.â€?
In light of the findings of the report – which has been submitted to the GLA – the council has set out further actions it is intending to implement to bring about improvements in air pollution. This includes promoting greener travel to staff and ‘embedding air quality in all aspects of the council’s work’, including procurement.
Wandsworth – Report on air quality