London adds five new Low Emission Bus Zones

In his latest measure to tackle London’s lethal toxic air, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has added five new ‘clean air’ Low Emission Bus Zones in some of the capital’s worst polluted hotspots.

Only buses that meet the cleanest emission standards will operate within the new Low Emission Bus Zones, which have been delivered through a combination of new and retrofitted vehicles.

London’s filthy air makes chronic illnesses worse, shortens life expectancy and damages lung development in children. A recent British Lung Foundation report found that more than 2,000 GP surgeries and 200 hospitals are in areas exceeding legal air quality limits across the country, while in London over 400 schools are estimated to be in areas of exceedance.

Sadiq Khan was in New Cross today to meet local schoolchildren as well as a doctor from a GP surgery that runs an asthma clinic based along the busy Camberwell to New Cross Low Emission Bus Zone.

“As a GP working in Lewisham I regularly see the impact of London’s air pollution on our asthma patients – inevitably the youngest and most vulnerable patients are most at risk. As highlighted by the recent WHO conference on Air pollution & Health, this is a key factor affecting our inner-city populations, and I am pleased to see the Mayor taking the problem seriously”.

Doctor Rachel Hadden from the Deptford Surgery

Seven Low Emission Bus Zones are now up and running in the capital – the five new zones announced today plus two zones launched last year in Putney High Street and on Brixton Road. It is estimated that annual bus NOx emissions will be reduced by an average of 90 percent along the seven bus zones delivered so far.

The Mayor will deliver 12 Low Emission Bus Zones in total, and all of these will be in place ahead of schedule by the end of 2019, earlier than the Mayor’s previous target of 2020.

A new evaluation report published by City Hall today shows the first two Low Emission Bus Zones at Putney High Street and Brixton have had a significant impact on pollution levels, with Putney High Street exceeding legal limits for just two hours so far in 2018 compared to 807 over the same period in 2016, a reduction of over 99 percent. At Brixton Road, there has been an 85 percent reduction in the hours exceeding legal limits since 2016.

The five new Low Emission Bus Zones are:

  • Camberwell to New Cross, cleaning up more than 380 buses
  • Wandsworth to St John Hill, cleaning up more than 200 buses
  • High Road Haringey to Green Lanes, cleaning up more than 330 buses
  • A12 Eastern Avenue to Homerton Road, cleaning up more than 290 buses
  • Edgware Road Kilburn to Maida Vale, cleaning up more than 240 buses

The zone is used by around 70,000 passengers a day and has 380 buses on 20 scheduled bus routes. Older buses have been replaced with new vehicles with top-of-the-range engines, or have been retrofitted with special exhaust control systems that meet or exceed the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards.

“Pollution from vehicles including buses are responsible for over half the harmful emissions we breathe. Low Emission Bus Zones are an effective way of dramatically reducing pollution and improving the health of thousands of Londoners who live or work along the worst air quality hotspots. The results in Putney and Brixton speak for themselves, which is why I am committing to delivering all 12 routes ahead of schedule in 2019 rather than 2020.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

The Low Emission Bus Zones are being delivered in areas where Londoners are exposed to some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. Older buses on the routes that can’t be upgraded are taken out of service or sold outside of London. This is part of a London broad effort to clean up the bus fleet, including the phasing out of diesel-only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018. The Mayor has also announced a £85 million programme to retrofit older buses. So far around 2,000 buses have been retrofitted and TfL is on track to ensure the entire fleet meets the cleanest Euro VI standard in 2020. This will mean in 2020 that the whole of London will become a Low Emission Bus Zone.

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