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Khan ‘misleading’ Londoners over electric bus transition, claims report

London is falling behind other worldwide cities in its take up of electric buses, according to a report from Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.

Her report compared Transport for London’s (TfL’s) current bus fleet with electric bus fleets in cities around the world, highlighting that by the end of 2019, London will have just 240 purely electric buses, which is less than 2.6% of its overall bus fleet.

The report mentions the city of Shenzhen in China has electrified its entire bus fleet of 16,000 buses.

Ms Pidgeon accused Mayor Khan and TfL of ‘lacking ambition’ in their targets.

‘The whole of India is committed to an electric bus fleet by 2030, but the Mayor’s commitment is for 2035,’ she said.

Last year, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, promised to increase the number of electric double-decker buses running on the capital’s roads by ‘more than tenfold’ from next summer.

68 new buses will be added to London’s bus fleet from this summer on two routes (43 from Friern Barnet to London Bridge Station and 134 from North Finchley to Tottenham Court Road) run by Metroline.

TfL also trialled five fully-electric double-deck buses on route 98 from Willesden to Holborn in 2016, which continue to operate in the capital. The buses emit zero-NOx from the tailpipe, meaning that there is a lower impact on urban air quality through their operation.

However, Caroline Pidgeon said Sadiq Khan has been caught out making some ‘misleading and false’ claims about the adoption of electric buses in London.

‘For example, his quote that London will soon have the largest double-decker electric bus fleet in Europe is misleading in the extreme – as Dublin is the only other city in western Europe to have any significant number of double-decker buses,’ she added.

‘Some really exciting things are happening in a number of countries across the world with the adoption of electric buses – in the Netherlands, South America, India and parts of China. But sadly London is in the slow lane in the adoption of purely electric buses.’

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told AirQualityNews that Ms Pidgeon’s report includes ‘deliberate misinterpretation’ of the Mayor’s statements on electric buses.

‘London’s filthy air is a serious threat to public health and the Mayor is doing everything in his power to tackle it, including bold action to transform the capital’s bus fleet,’ they said.

‘We have pushed the bus industry to develop new electric double-deck buses for London and are leading the way in Europe.

‘We are also ensuring all buses in the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) meet Euro VI standards by April 8, ensuring all single-deck buses in the ULEZ are electric or hydrogen in 2020, and ensuring the entire TfL fleet meets EURO VI standards by 2020.’

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