Mayor announces first clean, green bus routes

08 August 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today confirmed plans for the first of a series of ‘Low Emission Bus Zones’  - prioritising the greenest buses on the worst polluted routes, as part of his far-reaching plans to clean up the capital’s toxic air.


From February next year, the first route along Putney High Street will see exclusive use of hybrid or diesel buses with top-of-the-range anti-pollutant systems that meet or exceed Euro VI emissions standards.  The second route - between Brixton and Streatham - will be converted in October 2017.


These are the first Low Emission Bus Zones the Mayor promised in his manifesto and which will all be operational by 2020. These are expected to reduce NOx emissions from buses along these routes by around 84 per cent. They will be focussed on London’s worst air quality hotspots outside central London and prioritised in areas where buses would otherwise contribute significantly to road transport emissions.


The Low Emission Bus Zones will also incorporate a number of changes to the road layout to ensure buses have priority over other traffic and are able to keep moving, cutting emissions from unnecessary idling and speeding up journey times 


Low Emission Bus Zones are one of a number of measures the Mayor has asked TfL to lead by example on to reduce emissions from the capital’s bus fleet, including:


  • Making sure all buses operating in the central Ultra Low Emission Zone comply a year earlier by 2019, meaning each of the 3,100 double-deck buses operating in the zone will be Euro VI hybrid
  • Expanding the ULEZ retrofit programme up to 3,000 buses outside the central zone
  • Procuring only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is a scandal that in a wonderful, modern world city like London, thousands of people are dying because the air they breathe is toxic.  I am absolutely committed to speeding up our efforts and making sure I do everything possible to improve air quality in the capital.  Too many of London’s busiest high streets are choked with fumes and this move will improve the health of those living and working in the most polluted areas. I am determined to reduce emissions and improve London for everyone, and this is the latest in a number of changes I am making to deliver on this.”


Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “We’ve identified a number of routes where we can implement the Mayor’s Low Emission Bus Zones plan quickly and efficiently.  These corridors will see quicker journeys and real lasting improvements in air quality.”


Low Emission Bus Zones are an integral part of the Mayor’s plan to urgently clean up London’s air quality, which is a contributory factor in the deaths of around 10,000 residents each year according to the latest medical research. Plans for the Low Emission Bus Zones were announced by the Mayor in May alongside a number of proposals to improve the Capital’s air quality. Those proposals were subject to a recent consultation with nearly 15,000 responses, including:


·         Extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road and the possibility of bringing forward the introduction earlier than 2020

·         Implementing an extra charge on the most polluting vehicles entering central London using the Congestion Charge payment and enforcement system from 2017

·         Introducing ULEZ standards for heavy vehicles London-wide from 2020

·         Giving the go-ahead for TfL to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national scheme delivered by the Government

Notes to editors

Additional quotes:

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport said: “This is great news in the fight to improve London’s air quality.  Brixton and Streatham see a huge amount of buses travelling through and it has had a real impact on air quality in the area.  In Lambeth, we are determined to see our air quality improve and we welcome the new low emission bus zone – it is something that we have been lobbying the Mayor for and it is encouraging that he seems as determined as we are to make a difference.  We will continue to work with the Mayor and TfL to make Lambeth a cleaner and safer place to live.”


Cllr Jonathan Cook, deputy leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “Putney High Street has seen the biggest fall in pollution levels in London thanks to investment in the bus fleet and we’re pleased our new mayor will continue to treat this road as a priority. Wandsworth Council has installed the city’s most sophisticated pollution monitoring system here so there is no better place to trial new interventions and prove they can work.”


  1. There are two pollutants of particular concern in London: Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).  The UK Government’s action plan includes meeting NO2 legal limits in London by 2025.  The Mayor wants to use the package of measures agreed following the consultation to ensure we can achieve this before 2025.


  1. The World Health Organisation published figures on 12 May 2016 which showed that London has breached safe levels of pollutant particles known as PM10


  1. London is currently ranked 15 out of 36 world cities, behind cities like Paris, Berlin and Chicago - AMEC (2014) Comparison of Air Quality in London with a Number of World and European Cities.


  1. Almost 10,000 Londoners die prematurely each year, because of polluted air

Share this page