£5m fund launched to help deliver hundreds of public water fountains

12 October 2018

news release
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Friday 12th October

£5m fund launched to help deliver hundreds of public water fountains across London

• Joint Mayor of London and Thames Water fund to majorly boost numbers of water fountains in London from Spring 2019
• Councils and businesses and local groups will be among those that can bid for £5m fund
• Latest stage of Mayor’s work to reduce single-use plastic bottles in the capital

A new £5million scheme will help to create a network of hundreds of free public water fountains across busy areas of London, helping to reduce single-use plastic waste and encouraging people to refill rather than buy bottled water.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has partnered with Thames Water on the new fund which is open for councils, businesses, venues and outlets that are land owners. To register interest visit www.london.gov.uk/water-fountains  

The average adult in London buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – some 175 bottles every year. In total, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste (stats from ZSL #OneLess campaign.)
The new fountains will be installed from spring 2019 and will be located in shopping centres, museums, business districts, outside busy stations, large green spaces and other publicly accessible areas with high footfall.

The new network of fountains is in addition to the first 20 the Mayor is already delivering this year across London. These are proving very popular with the public, with more than 8,000 litres of drinking water, the equivalent of 16,000 water bottles, dispensed from the two Liverpool Street Station fountains alone in less than one month.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ”For many years, our public water fountains were discarded and neglected, whilst single-use plastic waste soared. We’re determined to reverse that trend and help deliver hundreds more free public fountains in the capital for everyone to enjoy.

“There is a real appetite for refilling and I want Londoners to lead the way in topping up on tap water when we’re on the move. This great new fund will significantly boost the number of public fountains in some of the busiest places across London from next spring. The fountains we’ve already delivered this year are attracting thousands of visitors and helping people make small but important changes in reducing plastic consumption.”

Thames Water will take care of installation, maintenance, cleaning and repairs to ensure the fountains are clean and safe to use for all Londoners.

Steve Robertson, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “Nurturing and protecting the environment is a core mission for Thames Water and we are proud of the high quality of our tap water. By making it even more accessible for Londoners on the move we can together limit the use of millions of single-use plastic bottles which sadly end up in landfill or in our rivers and oceans."

The Mayor also supports Refill London, which has so far recruited more than 2,000 London shops, businesses, venues and cafes including Costa, Tate Modern, BFI Imax and Leon to provide free tap water to members of the public and is a partnership between City to Sea, Mayor of London and Thames Water.

Notes to editors
• To register interest for the fund visit: www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/waste-and-recycling/drinking-water-fountains Applications will be open later this year.
• The drinking water fountains will provide a free alternative to drinking high-sugar carbonated drinks, and support the Mayor's package of measures to cut child obesity, which also include proposals to ban advertisements for unhealthy food and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar across the entire Transport for London (TfL) estate.
• Thames Water and the Mayor of London are both contributing £2.5m to the £5m fund and aim to install more than 100 water fountains across London, adding to the locations for existing fountains
• TfL is currently reviewing suitable sites, including its bus network, overground and underground sites. London underground stations are some of the most difficult places to install fountains, because of limited space, and additional safety requirements. However, the Mayor wants to work with land owners of areas directly outside tube stations, and explore wider locations across the transport network like Overground stations, and busy bus hubs to find suitable locations for water fountains.
• The Mayor has worked with theZoological Society of London’s (ZSL) #OneLess campaign to secure the locations of the first 20 fountains being delivered this year at:
   Kingly Court, off Carnaby Street, Westminster
• Liverpool Street Station, near the Underground entrance
• Liverpool Street Station, near Bishopsgate exit
• Heart of Valentines Park, Redbridge
• Bexleyheath Town Centre, Bexley
• North Acton Station Square in Ealing
• Windrush Square, Brixton
• Ladywell fields, Lewisham
• Beckenham Place Park, Lewisham
• Horniman Museum and Gardens, Lewisham
• Paddington Recreation Ground, Westminster
• Acton park, near the new skate park, Ealing,
• Guy's Hospital, Southwark
• St Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth
• Swiss Cottage Open Space, Camden
• Camberwell Green, Southwark
• Nisbett Walk, Sidcup Town Centre in Bexley
• The Natural History Museum, RB Kensington and Chelsea
• South St Alban's Street, St James (off Haymarket)
• The London School of Economics and Political Science
• The Mayor is encouraging businesses, shops and venues to join Refill London and offer free tap water to the public. To join the scheme visit the Refill website www.refill.org.uk.
• The average adult in London buys more than three plastic water bottles every week - a startling 175 bottles every year. In total, some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. (stats from the #OneLess campaign) The #OneLess campaign has been leading the charge against ocean plastic pollution since 2016, focusing on the pervasive single-use plastic water bottle. For more information visit www.onelessbottle.org

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