Mayor helps boroughs target toxic air hot spots with £6million fund

27 September 2018
    • £6million fund open for bids today for boroughs to target worst pollution areas
    • Boroughs can use the money to create more car-free and low-emission streets, promote no-engine idling and clean up construction sites
    • Part of the Mayor’s £20million Air quality fund that has already supported projects across 29 boroughs



The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today called for boroughs to bid for a share of £6 million funding to help target local pollution hot spots and drastically improve air quality.


The funding is part of the £20 million Mayor’s Air Quality Fund that has already delivered hard-hitting measures across 29 boroughs including electrifying Hackney Council’s vehicle fleet, fitting low-cost electric charging points onto lampposts across Hounslow, and establishing a green courier service in Waltham Forest.


As well as working with boroughs on new ideas to target filthy air, part of the £6 million will be used to establish four more Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs), cut emissions from construction machinery, create car-free and low-emission streets, and support people and businesses to start using ultra-low emission vehicles.


Sadiq launched the latest funding round today as he visited business owners on Francis Road in Leyton who have helped reduce traffic pollution by using a cargo bike and electric vehicle delivery service, supported by a £400,000 City Hall Air Quality Fund grant. Over the last year the project’s 12 part-time riders have cycled 7,743 km and delivered more than 8,000 packages. Around 25 local businesses use the delivery service every month, alongside The Waltham Forest Library Service which uses the cargo bikes to deliver books to housebound residents across the borough.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Our filthy toxic air is a national health crisis, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year. The bold action we’ve already delivered such as establishing Low Emission Bus Zones, cleaning up the bus and taxi fleets and delivering the T-Charge in central London, are starting to have a positive impact. Today’s funding will help boroughs to deliver targeted action to complement these strong measures and improve their local areas for the benefit of all Londoners. 


“Despite all that I’m doing here in London, we can’t win this battle until the government provides extra resources and delivers a national scrappage fund to get the dirtiest vehicles off our streets and a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century.”


Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council said: “We know that air quality is a huge concern for our residents and sadly around 270 people in the borough die from illnesses related to air pollution every year. Therefore, we’ve made tackling this issue as a priority through the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme and our work with the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.


“Our Mini-Holland scheme has delivered 22km of segregated cycle lanes, 660 new trees, 37 roads closed to through traffic and 15 new pocket parks since 2015. Meanwhile, innovative schemes like replacing delivery vans with cargo bikes have helped local businesses to make a tangible difference.


“Thanks to our actions the life expectancy of Waltham Forest’s young people has significantly improved and we’ve cut the number of households in the borough facing dangerously high levels of air pollution by 90%.


Tiff Howick co-founder of Venner Store, a gift and homeware store in Francis Road, Leyton, said: “We specifically chose to open our store in Francis Road because we liked the idea of the road being pedestrianised.  There have been lots of new businesses opening up in recent months and there is a great community atmosphere among us and our customers.

“ZED, the zero emissions delivery service, provide us with a great service bring our stock from our local suppliers across Waltham Forest. They are a great friendly local team, who really care about their customers and the environment.”


The Mayor is already supporting five borough-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods in some of London’s busiest and most highly polluted areas:  Westminster (Marylebone LEN), City of London, (Barbican LEN)Greenwich (Town Centre and Trafalgar Road LEN), and cross borough neighbourhoods in Redbridge & Newham (Ilford Garden Junction LEN), and Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets (City Fringe LEN). Six smaller Business Low Emission Neighbourhoods are being delivered by the Mayor and business groups.

These projects are already achieving positive results with nine streets in Hackney and Islington turned into ultra-low emission zones earlier this month. There’s also been a 16 per cent drop in the number of older, more polluting diesel vehicles parking in the Marylebone LEN and 30 new electric vehicle charge points and 100 new secure cycle stands in carparks in the Barbican.

This latest round of funding will allow London’s councils to complement the Mayor’s ambitious programme to make London’s air safe to breathe. This has already seen the introduction of the world’s first toxicity charge (the T-Charge) for the most polluting cars and the establishment of two low-emission bus zones, with at least four more planned to come into operation by the end of the year. This will be followed next April by the establishment of an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London and extensive work to transform London’s bus and taxi fleet. This fund will help to complement those big regional measures with targeted local action.

Notes to editors


The MAQF is a £20 million fund over 10 years, agreed within the TfL Business Plan. This is the third and final round of the fund. This round will provide £6m over three years starting in April 2019 to London boroughs to deliver air quality projects. The fund is open for the following applications:

  • A pan-London anti-idling project, to include on street enforcement against idling.
  • A pan-London project to inspect construction sites to ensure that they are only using approved and lower-pollution machinery. Construction machinery is currently the third largest contributor to air pollution in the capital.  
  • Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs) - we will fund up to four new LENs with up to £500,000 each. This builds on the five borough-led LENs and six business-led LENs we have already funded.
  • Pedestrianisation, road closures and car free schemes in partnership with local communities.
  • Supporting the uptake of low-emission vehicles, and supporting businesses to reduce emissions.
  • Exceptional projects – we will also accept applications for exceptional ideas which fall outside of the above categories.


Some results from past borough air quality projects funded by the Mayor include:

  • creating more than 1000m2 of green walls, reducing pollution from construction sites and installing digital signage to reduce engine idling.
  • carrying out ‘air quality audits’ for primary schools in the worst polluted areas in London to help protect children from toxic air in the capital.
  • Cutting background air pollution levels around St Bart’s Hospital, bringing them back below EU limits. 
  • Establishing London’s first electric vehicle car club in Westminster.


The Mayor is currently supporting five LENs with £1m each, to be delivered by April 2019. They are: Marylebone (delivered by Westminster Council), City Fringe/Shoreditch (Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets Councils), Barbican (City of London), Greenwich Town Centre (Greenwich Council) and Ilford Junction (Redbridge and Newham Councils).


More information about the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund can be found here:

Independent research by Air Quality Consultants have shown that  the number of households in Waltham Forest exposed to more than the EU recommended maximum amount of nitrogen dioxide has dropped dramatically, from 58,000 a decade ago to 6,300 last year when comparing data 2007 with 2017 (maps available on request by emailing [email protected]).


Based on the Mayor’s actions to clean up the capital’s air, London is expected to be legally compliant with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits by 2025 – the same date as set out in the government’s Air Quality Plan. However, Sadiq wants to achieve legal limits well before this and adopt tighter World Health Organization recommended air quality guidelines.


Achieving legal limits earlier is only possible if Government take the supporting action and give the Mayor the additional resources and powers set out in the London Environment Strategy, including funding a national scrappage fund to get the most polluting vehicles off our streets now.

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