Mayor launches ‘no idling’ scheme and £5m fund to tackle air pollution

11 February 2016

From today drivers using Tower Bridge will be encouraged to stop idling and switch their engines off when the bridge is opening to help lower emissions and boost air quality.

Tower Bridge is raised around 900 times a year, affecting some of the 31,000 vehicles crossing the river on the bridge each day. Now new road signs will provide a simple but innovative approach to helping drivers save fuel and reduce emissions by knowing when there will be a long wait.

The scheme, delivered by Southwark and Tower Hamlets and jointly funded by the Mayor of London, is part of the Mayor’s £20 million Air Quality Fund (MAQF), which has supported bold pollution-busting projects across the capital over the past three years.

Today the Mayor announced the projects across 28 boroughs which will benefit from a share of £5 million from his fund. They include:

  • Installing electric vehicle charging points on lamp posts in Hounslow - hundreds of new easily accessible charge points can be installed across the borough which will make owning an electric vehicle much easier;
  • Green courier service in Waltham Forest – boosting local high streets and cutting the need for cars by providing a same day delivery service using cargo bikes and electric vehicles for local shoppers;
  • A community “No to NO2” project in Haringey supporting school walking zones and cycle maintenance workshops to boost cycling and walking in the borough;
  • An expanded ‘London Boroughs Consolidation Centre’, which has halved deliveries to council offices since it began. The project has enabled boroughs to cut down on the amount of deliveries and share a main distribution venture for major courier firms. Extra funding will now allow local businesses to start using the consolidation centre and cut their own deliveries and emissions;
  • Dust enforcement officers on building sites - improving air quality in the construction industry by supporting the Mayor’s strict emission standards for construction machinery and helping to deliver trials of new technology to reduce the need for old polluting equipment.

In addition, the Mayor has announced his intention to award £1 million to at least two flagship ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ in the capital. Nine boroughs have been chosen to work up proposals for transforming a local neighbourhood with a host of measures to improve walking, cycling and air quality.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP said: “Protecting the well-being of Londoners is vital and these great projects, coupled with my plans for the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020, are part of the  bold measures we need, along with the strong support of the Government and the EU, to win London’s pollution battle. “

Southwark Council have installed an air pollution monitoring station to measure the impact of the Tower Bridge no idling project and they hope local residents will benefit from less polluted roads around the bridge.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council cabinet member for parks, public health and leisure, said: “The anti idling scheme is a good example of joint working and it would be great to see more support coming through for local projects. I hope this scheme raises awareness about the damaging affects of idling with your engine on and encourages drivers across the capital to think carefully about ways they could help reduce air pollution.”

The fund is part of the many comprehensive measures the Mayor has implemented to boost air quality and make London a more pleasant to live in including: tightening Low Emission Zone standards, transforming London’s bus fleets to one of the greenest in the world, driving the biggest buildings ‘energy efficiency programme in the capital’s history and planting over half a million new trees. These will be further boosted by the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020.


Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor originally launched the £20 million Air Quality Fund  in 2013 to support boroughs in tackling air quality for 10 years. Previous funded projects include installing green walls in busy traffic congested areas; trialling pollution-reducing equipment on construction sites; funding for low emission vehicles; working with hospitals such as Great Ormond Street and Barts to help reduce the number of patients exposed to pollution; and education and business engagement schemes.


  1. The nine London boroughs vying to deliver a Low Emission neighbourhood are City, Barking and Dagenham, Hackney (with Islington and Tower Hamlets), Westminster, Havering, Redbridge (with Newham), Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Camden.


  1. A recent report commissioned by the Mayor and produced by Kings College found that almost half the health impacts of pollution in the capital results from toxic air elsewhere and the Mayor  continues to lobby for the strong support of the Government and the EU to tackle this matter.


  1. All new MAQF projects across the boroughs:



Project Details



Funding for Enfield to join the successful North London Freight Consolidation Scheme (which was funded through Round 1 of the MAQF and has cut deliveries within the participating councils by half)




Business Engagement - working with Business Improvement Districts to help their businesses reduce deliveries, pollution and costs


Enfield, Waltham Forest, Haringey and Barnet


Dust Enforcement Officer to enforce air quality Planning requirements, especially NRMM. Helps to support boroughs with highly constrained resources to reduce pollution from construction. It is estimated that construction contributes to around 12% of pollution in London.


Hammersmith and Fulham

Putney Bridge Approach Greening Project - Cycle bypass and other improvements



Haringey’s ‘No 2 NO2’ Programme is a package of linked interventions to achieve big improvements in local air quality, reducing emissions through a variety of awareness raising and behaviour change measures.  It will include  setting up school walking zones for those schools that experience high car use and are in polluted areas, cycle maintenance workshops, helping businesses reduce deliveries, and supporting an Air Quality Apprentice to engage with young people on air quality



Residential EV Socket Charging Trial – this project will install low cost electric vehicle chargers into lampposts. This innovative solution removes the need for traditional charging posts, saving time, money and space. This will mean that hundreds can be installed across the borough which will make owning an electric vehicle much easier for people who don’t have their own driveways.

Waltham Forest

Green Courier Pilot – innovative shopping courier service to encourage people to visit the shops on foot. Goods purchased will then be delivered to their homes that day by cargo bike and/or EV. Helps support the local high streets and reduce pollution.



Delivery and Service Planning with businesses in West London to help them reduce deliveries, cut pollution, and often also reduce costs.

Camden, Islington and Enfield

London Boroughs Consolidation Centre expansion -  expansion of this successful projects which was funded through Round 1 of the MAQF. The project is a partnership of boroughs who share a centre in Enfield where all participating deliveries on are sent. These are then “consolidated” together and driven into the council’s buildings on a electric vehicle, thereby avoiding lots of unnecessary trips. This has cut the number of delivery trips by half,

City of London Corporation, City of Westminster


Diesel Generators – providing a specification for use of standby generators in central London, in order to minimise the impact of this little understood but significant source of pollution.

Central London Sub-Regional application led by Cross River Partnership


Boroughs: Camden, Westminster, Lambeth, City of London Corporation, Lewisham, Islington.

Clean Air Better Business II– (CABB 2)
- a host of exciting and innovative match funded projects in partnership with central London Business Improvement Districts.


Archway Zero Emission Network – building on the success of the Shoreditch ZEN, this project will use the same branding and approach to deliver a ZEN to businesses in Archway.


Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Wandsworth

South London Freight Consolidation Centre (SLFCC) – building on the success of the North London Consolidation Centre, this project will aim to deliver a consolidation centre in South London


Camden, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, RB Kensington and Chelsea, Wandsworth,  Brent, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, City of London Corp., Southwark, Hammersmith and Fulham

London Low Emission Construction Partnership

Innovative interventions and engagement to reduce emissions from construction, with support and match funding provided by some of the major construction companies in London

City of London Corporation, Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham


Idling engine action days – building on the success of the City of London project, this initiative will put friendly trained volunteers out on the street to talk to drivers about the benefits of switching off their engines while stationery. The project will run across a number of boroughs, ensuring a big impact. Where possible, volunteers will go out on days when high pollution is forecast to encourage drivers to do their bit by switching off engines when not in use.




Electrification of Hackney’s Fleet to reduce NO2 and PM emissions. This will result in up to 25% of the council’s fleet of cars and light vans being Ultra Low Emission, as well as introducing new initiatives to increase walking and cycling.


Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets


Zero Emissions Network Phase 2 (ZEN2) Shoreditch – building on the success of the first round of the ZEN project, which has worked with hundreds of businesses to help them reduce pollution, and developed a strong brand and lots of local support.




Evelyn St Corridor Construction Logistics Plan (CLPs) Framework – co-ordinating CLPs from a number of developments in the area to produce 20% reduction in construction vehicle movements (amongst a range of other benefits).


Redbridge Schools STARS & Air Quality Programme – a programme of schools engagement linked to the TfL STARS programme.


A range of Town Centre improvements to reduce car use and encourage walking and cycling


Business engagement centred on Putney High Street, to help businesses reduce pollution.

Croydon, Merton, Sutton, Bromley, Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea,  Hammersmith & Fulham, City of London , Southwark

Improving air quality in the construction industry – funding staff to enforce air quality Planning requirements across the participating boroughs, especially NRMM. Helps to support boroughs with highly constrained resources to reduce pollution from constrained. It is estimated that construction contributes to around 12% of pollution in London.



City of London Corporation

Clean Air Zones – feasibility studies and preparations for a range of very high impact pollution-reducing interventions, which the City is committed to funding the delivery of.



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