Boris Johnson “talks big, but little delivery” on car free days

01 December 2014

Boris Johnson “talks big, but little delivery” on car free days

The Mayor has said he will review the plans for regular car free days in London after taking part in a mass bike ride in Jakarta. However, he rejected doing something similar in London in 2010 when Jenny Jones asked him about importing the idea from Bogota, who also have car free days on a Sunday and public holidays.

The idea of road closures to deal with air pollution episodes was in the Mayor’s draft Air Pollution Strategy in 2010, but was deleted from the final version.

Jenny Jones AM said:

“Car free days are a wonderful way to celebrate city life and London would thrive on these events. The Mayor has repeatedly rejected car free days despite all the benefits to the economy and air quality, so I'm glad he is having a rethink and I hope he is tough enough to see it through.

“The Mayor often talks big about reducing air pollution, but there has been little delivery on car free days. In the meantime, he is planning to make things worse by spending £32bn expanding the road network in London. That will negate any benefits from car free days and improvements to cycling.”

Notes to Editors

1. Jenny Jones AM is available for interview

2. Below is a formal question Jenny tabled to Mayor Boris Johnson in 2010:

Question number


Meeting date



Question by Jenny Jones

Will you consider replicating in London the hugely popular Colombian scheme whereby many city roads are closed to motor vehicles on Sundays and public holidays from 7am – 2pm?

Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)

The GLA and TfL support numerous events throughout the year that allow Londoners to enjoy streets free of motorised traffic. These include, but are not limited to; SKYride, the Thames Festival, Sunday closures of the Mall, Pride Festival, Oxford St VIP Day, London Marathon, British 10k and New Years Eve celebrations.

TfL is keen to learn from innovative international measures such as the impressive 30-year Colombian scheme, and to identify features of such policy which can help achieve my aims for London including improvements in air quality. Widespread restrictions may not be as viable in London compared to Bogotá. However, TfL is investigating options for single or localised street closures that may potentially help achieve a cycling revolution and increase walking, whilst maintaining the movement of people and goods.