Mayor’s air quality improvements win double C40 acclaim

23 September 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today received a double accolade for his carbon cutting measures, including his work to make London’s iconic black taxi’s zero emission capable by 2018.


The Mayor was also recognised for his lead in creating a new carbon accounting standard which has become an international best practice benchmark. London’s growing low carbon goods and services sector is worth around £25 billion a year, and employs over 160,000 people.


Since the Mayor was elected, half as many Londoners live in areas exceeding legal limits for NO2, emissions of harmful particulates are down by 15 per cent, and nitrogen oxides emissions are down by 20 per cent, as he has driven forward a comprehensive package of measures from retrofitting buses, local green walls and cycle routes, to the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020.


The Mayor’s senior advisor for the environment and energy, Matthew Pencharz, who is representing the Mayor during the UN Climate Change Summit this week, collected the ‘Air Quality’ and ‘Carbon Measurement’ prizes at the prestigious C40 Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards in New York last night. He said: “The Mayor is leading the most ambitious and comprehensive package of measures in the world to reduce carbon emissions and improve London’s air quality, an urgent challenge which affects the health and well-being of all Londoners. As London’s low carbon sector continues to grow, he is leading the way in promoting new low emission technology. At the heart of his plans is the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020. Today’s well deserved recognition is indicative of the great progress we are making in London as we move towards cleaner, greener vehicles and more breathable air for London.”


The new zero-emission capable taxis are expected to reduce emissions by more than 75 per cent compared to the average London taxi. In central London, where they will mainly operate in zero emission mode, emissions per taxi will be reduced by almost 100 per cent.


At present black cabs account for around 15 per cent of NOx emissions in central London, and around 35 per cent of PM10 emissions, set to rise to 45 per cent without intervention.


The Mayor has introduced the first ever taxi age limits, which have already retired more than 3,000 of the oldest, most polluting taxis; begun work with taxi manufacturers to develop a new Zero Emission Capable Taxi for London; and made zero emission capable taxis compulsory for all new licensed taxis from 1 January 2018, two years ahead of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone planned for central London from 2020. This will help decisively tackle pollution from London’s fleet of 23,000 taxis.


Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “As we continue our drive to improve air quality in London, we welcome this recognition of the hard work that has already seen significant changes across the capital. London has one of the cleanest bus fleets in Europe and it is constantly expanding as we trial the use of electricity, hydrogen and bio-diesel to power the capital's fleet as well as retrofitting some of our older vehicles. We’ve also introduced a number of measures to cut down taxi emissions across London including introducing taxi age limits which have reduced PM10 exhaust emissions by 14% and NOx emissions by 6%. These and a number of other measures we have in place are all part of our aim to improve the environmental performance of London’s transport network and through this the quality of life of its inhabitants.”


The Mayor has also been recognised for his work to improve the way cities understand carbon data. Working with a group of experts, and the British Standards Institution (BSI), he has led the development of a new methodology for measuring a city’s total carbon impact – not just what we produce through power and heating but also through what goods and services we consume.


The new standard, known as PAS 2070, provides a robust and transparent method for comparing city-level greenhouse gas emissions.


The C40 Siemens City Climate Leadership Award recognises it as an international best practice benchmark.


David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI said: “This award is testament to the commitment London and the UK has to tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We are delighted that the Greater London Authority (GLA) partnered with BSI in developing PAS 2070, the specification for assessment of city GHG emissions, in order to carry out a complete assessment throughout Greater London. This achievement clearly demonstrates the standard’s credibility in helping cities globally measure, report and benchmark GHG emissions in a consistent manner.”


The Mayor’s RE:FIT programme to make public buildings more energy efficient also received a nominated for the C40 Energy Efficient Built Environment prize. 

Notes to editors

• The C40 Climate Leadership Group, which the Mayor of London is the deputy chair, is a network of 69 cities sharing best practice to address climate change.

• The consultation on the Ultra Low Emission Zone will begin in late October, with the final scheme order being confirmed by Spring 2015.

• Earlier this month, the Mayor published a roadmap for meeting EU emission standards by 2020 and backed a campaign for a government scheme to scrap the most polluting diesel cars and giving drivers cash incentives to switch to cleaner vehicles. The Transport Emissions Road Map is available online at

• A new comprehensive study comparing air quality in 36 world and European cities based on pollutants like particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was undertaken by leading consultancy AMEC and peer-reviewed by prominent air quality experts and academics. It developed three indices which ranked cities based on citywide emissions, transport-focused emissions and using a special health-weighted index. It is available here:

• The Mayor has worked with a group of experts and the British Standards Institute (BSI) to develop a new standard for the measurement of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is a new Publicly Available Specification entitled ‘PAS 2070: Specification for the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions of a city’. It is the UK’s first standard produced for wider city-level emissions. It allows measurement not only of the carbon emissions that result from production activities within a city’s border, but also the carbon emissions that result from a city’s consumption of goods and services produced elsewhere, like food and electronic goods. PAS2070 builds on the C40-led Global Protocol for Community-scale GHG emissions (GPC), for which London was also a pilot city, to include a wider range of indirect emissions and a separate consumption-based methodology.

• London has a history in leading the way in developing city-level emissions inventories. In 2004 it was one of the first cities to develop a comprehensive emissions inventory through the London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI). This inventory helped set the standard for other inventories and has continued to remain in line with national and international reporting standards and methodologies.

• The Mayor is supporting proposals for the Government to help motorists by offering between a £1,000 and £2,000 grant per vehicle for the most polluting diesels which are more than 12 months old.

• The Mayor’s London Low Carbon Market Snapshot (2013) estimated London’s Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) sector to be worth £25.4bn to London’s economy in 2011/12, as indicated by the value of the sales in the sector. In the same year it contained over 9,200 companies employing over 163,500 people. The sector grew by more than 5% in the two years prior to 2011/12 and is forecast to continue to grow until the end of the decade by over 6%. The Mayor’s programme of measures:

• The Mayor has tightened the Low Emission Zone standards for HGVs, buses and coaches and introducing new standards for large vans and minibuses. Around 150,000 vehicles needed to take action to meet these standards when they came into effect in January 2012

• He has created Europe’s largest fleet of hybrid buses, with 850 already on the road

• He has reduced emissions by retrofitting more than 900 of the oldest buses with special equipment to reduce their NOx emissions by up to 88 per cent

• He is retiring the remaining 900 oldest Euro III buses in TfL’s fleet and replacing them with super-clean Euro VI buses at a cost of £18m

• He is accelerating the roll out of hybrid buses, with 1,700 to be on the road by 2016, including 600 of the iconic New Buses for London which are the cleanest and greenest bus of their type. This will be equivalent to around 20% of TfL’s bus fleet

• He has retired over 3,000 of the oldest, most polluting taxis, by introducing London’s first taxi age limits;

• All new taxis will have to be zero emission capable from 2018. Oxford Street is the kind of location where we would expect them to use this functionality. We’re exploring using the same technology (already installed on New Routemasters) to do the same for buses

• New measures to reduce emissions and clean up construction sites, including plans for tough new emission standards for construction equipment in 2015 and 2020

• A new Ultra Low Emission Zone for central London to come into effect by 2020 which will include Oxford Street and the surrounding roads

• He is investing almost £1 billion to improve cycling infrastructure and encourage less polluting forms of transport. In February, research by the Medical Research Council suggested the health benefits gained from using the city’s Cycle Hire scheme outweigh the potential negative impacts from injuries and exposure to air pollution

• He is using the planning system to require all new development to be “air quality neutral”

• He is retrofitting hundreds of thousands of homes and public buildings with energy efficiency measures which reduce their emissions, with 400,000 already complete The City Climate Leadership Awards Ceremony and Conference are jointly organized by C40 and Siemens. The City Climate Leadership Awards are granted in 10 categories and provide global recognition for cities that are demonstrating climate action leadership.


Full list of winners:

Urban transportation: Shenzhen – New Energy Vehicle promotion Solid Waste Management: Buenos Aires – Solid Urban Waste Reduction Project Finance and Economic Development: Amsterdam – Investment Fund Carbon Measurement and Planning: London – Assessment of city-wide GHG emissions Sustainable Communities: Portland – Healthy Connected City Networks Green Energy: Seoul – Making Seoul a city of sunlight Adaptation and Resilience: Melbourne – Urban Landscapes Climate Adaptation Programm Energy Efficient Built Environment: NYC – Greener Greater Buildings Plan & NYC Carbon Challenge Air Quality: London – New Taxi for London Intelligent City Infrastructure: Barcelona – Urban Platform

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