Mayor’s Brixton clean Bus Zone to tackle toxic air

12 December 2017

• Buses on polluted Brixton Road set for a sharp reduction in emissions
• Second Low Emission Bus Zone delivered by the Mayor this year
• Residents and businesses welcome cleaner buses in one of London’s most heavily polluted areas
• Ten more Low Emission Bus Zones to follow, with the A12 Eastern Avenue scheduled for Spring 2018
• The zones represent the most extensive network of clean buses of any major world city

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today delivered the second in his network of 12 Low Emission Bus Zones in one of the most polluted areas of London, Brixton Road.

The new clean bus zone, running from Brixton Hill via Stockwell Road and Streatham High Road to Streatham Place, carries 130,000 passengers a day on a total of 450 buses on 23 scheduled routes. The route travels close to a number of primary schools, meaning more than 1,000 local children are now breathing cleaner air, as well as past Brixton Tube station which sees over 50,000 passengers a day enter and exit via Brixton Road.

From today, only buses that meet the toughest emission standards will be permitted to run within the Brixton Low Emission Bus Zone. Every bus on the route meets Euro VI standards through a combination of new and retrofitted buses:
• More than 200 of the buses are new double-deck Euro VI hybrid buses.
• There are 13 new single-deck cleaner diesel buses.
• 230 buses have been retrofitted to meet a Euro VI emission standard.

It is the second of 12 new Low Emission Bus Zones to be introduced in heavily polluted areas. The first zone launched on Putney High Street in March 2017. Already, after less than six months, the Putney route has seen a 90 per cent reduction in hourly pollution level breaches and early analysis suggests a 40 per cent reduction in annual NO2 concentrations at Putney High Street.

The polluted Brixton to Streatham route exceeded hourly legal levels of nitrogen dioxide on 539 occasions in 2016 and breached annual legal pollution limits by‎ 5 January this year. Under EU rules, the limit should not be exceeded more than 18 times in a year.‎

London’s filthy air makes chronic illnesses worse, shortens life expectancy and can damage lung development. The Mayor recently revealed World Health Organisation (WHO) data that showed that all Londoners live in areas exceeding legal limits for toxic PM2.5 particles.‎

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “To tackle this lethal air we need a dramatic reduction in harmful emissions from polluting buses and older more polluting vehicles. I am committed to making our bus fleet the greenest in the world and today I’ve continued to deliver on that pledge by launching the second of my Low Emission Bus Zones in Brixton.

“I have tasked TfL with transforming the public transport network, which includes removing or retrofitting the oldest, dirtiest buses on our streets to cut harmful emissions. We’ve already seen a massive improvement in air quality along the Putney route. I’m confident that will be replicated here in Brixton and along the 10 other routes where we are introducing Low Emission Bus Zones.

“I’m working relentlessly to do everything in my power to clean up London’s air. Now, the Government needs to help tackle the challenge we face. Rather than preventing the capital from accessing the new National Clean Air Fund, ministers should be delivering a vehicle scrappage fund to get the filthiest cars off our roads. Londoners are living through a public health crisis and need a government which will take action on the toxic air we breathe.”

Ten more Low Emission Bus Zones will follow Brixton and Putney. The remaining zones will be delivered by 2020, fulfilling the Mayor’s manifesto commitment.

The zones represent the most extensive network of clean buses of any major world city. These hotspots expose Londoners to some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution, and they contain older buses which contribute significantly to road transport emissions.

The routes are one‎ part of a major transformation the Mayor has asked TfL to deliver to reduce emissions from London’s bus fleet, including the phasing out of diesel-only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018.

Leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Lib Peck, said: “Having a clean bus corridor through the heart of our borough is something we’ve been campaigning for for a long time and I’m delighted that the Mayor has implemented this. Poor air quality is a killer, there is no doubt about that, and we are determined here in Lambeth to do all we can to tackle pollution and improve the air we breathe. This is an issue that needs us all to work together and I’m encouraged by the Mayor’s commitment to do just that.”

Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “I’m excited about the launch of this second Low Emission Bus Zone in Brixton after very encouraging initial results from the first, in Putney. This is yet another important stepping stone on the way to making the Mayor’s vision of a less polluted cleaner capital come true. Greener buses will help transform air quality and make for a more welcoming town centre.”

The upcoming zones – which are all outside the central Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)– include Stratford, Harringay and Edgware. Thousands of school children will benefit from their introduction, with 172 schools located within 100 metres of the new zones. In addition, the benefits of operating the greenest buses will be felt across the capital as the buses operate the full length of their routes. The changes are expected to reduce bus emissions across the 12 zones by over 80 per cent.

The Mayor is doing everything in his power to tackle London’s toxic air, including his recent proposal to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone up to the North and South circular roads for all vehicles from 25 October 2021. He is also consulting on expanding the ULEZ standards Londonwide for heavy vehicles like buses, coaches and lorries. He is phasing out diesel taxis, funding 50 schools’ APOS air quality audits, setting tighter standards for construction machinery and introducing air quality alerts. To help motorists make cleaner choices he has created a Cleaner Vehicle Checker, so Londoners can check the real-world emissions of cars and vans before buying them, as well as introducing the world’s toughest emissions standard with the launch of the £10 Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) in central London for the oldest vehicles. This runs alongside and on top of the £11.50 Congestion Charge (C-Charge). The new official TfL Congestion Charge app launches today, allowing motorists to pay the C-Charge and T-Charge using a mobile device for the first time.

Louise Abbotts, BID Manager, InStreatham, said: “InStreatham Business Improvement District is delighted that the Mayor of London has made Streatham High Road a priority for Low Emission Buses. We face the challenge daily of trying to marry the differing needs of being a busy arterial route as well as a much loved local high street. These changes will help to improve the quality of local people's daily lives.”

Notes to editors

The locations of the Low Emission Bus Zones are:

1. Putney High Street – from Putney Station to Putney Bridge Road
2. Brixton to Streatham – from Brixton Hill via Stockwell Road and Streatham High Road to Streatham Place
3. A12 Eastern Avenue – from Blake Hall Road via High Road Leyton and Homerton High Street to Marsh Hill
4. Lewisham to Catford – from Bromley Road via Rushey Green to Lewisham High Street
5. Stratford – from Abbey Lane via Mile End Road to Woodgrange Road
6. Harringay – from High Road to Green Lanes
7. Camberwell to New Cross – from Blackheath Road via Camberwell Green and Peckham High Street to Wood’s Road
8. Wandsworth to St John’s Hill – from Lavender Hill to Wandsworth Road
9. Edgware Road (Kilburn to Maida Vale) – from Cricklewood Broadway via Kilburn High Road to Shoot-Up Hill
10. Edmonton to Seven Sisters – from Amhurst Park via Green Lanes and Seven Sisters Road to The Broadway
11. Uxbridge Road to Shepherds Bush – from Ealing Broadway via Hanger Lane to Uxbridge Road, The Broadway
12. Chiswick High Road to Kensington – via Hammersmith Broadway and Kensington High Street to Studland Street.

• From 2019, all TfL buses operating in central London will need to meet the Euro VI standard just like other heavy vehicles driving in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and all double-decker buses will be hybrid. Because of the way the network works, a significant number of double-decker buses operating in inner London will be hybrid and many in outer London too.

• It is also proposed that all single-decker buses operating in central London will be zero emission at tailpipe from 2020, taking the number of these vehicles up to around 300.‎

• The Mayor launched his plans to clean up London’s filthy air last summer and his first public initial consultation attracted a record 15,000 responses.

• The Mayor has also called on the Government to put in place a national diesel scrappage scheme to help people replace vehicles affected by the proposals. There was overwhelming support for this in the first round of his consultation. He also wants fiscal incentives, like Vehicle Excise Duty, to be reformed so they support the Mayor’s proposals and encourage people to own and use the cleanest vehicles. The Mayor has also requested additional powers through a new 21st Century Clean Air Act so he can effectively tackle 'non road' sources of pollution including from construction and the river.

• There are two pollutants of particular concern in London: particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are produced when fuel is combusted in an engine in the presence of air. NOx comprises a mixture of nitric oxide (NO) and NO2. NO is not harmful to health at the concentrations typically found in the atmosphere. However, in contrast, NO2 is associated with a range of environmental and health problems. The 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 and additional Government action and funding to ensure we can achieve this long before 2025.‎

• Further additional Low Emission Bus Zones will be considered across the capital in the future if they are deemed appropriate.

• Travelling on buses in London represents very good value for money, with a single fare costing £1.50. Since the introduction of the ‘Hopper’ fare in September 2016, passengers can change onto another bus or tram for free within one hour of touching in. With the addition of even greener buses to the fleet, customers can now help to reduce emissions while reducing congestion on London’s roads.

• The new TfL Congestion Charge app is available here for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tflonline.CongestionCharge... and here for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tfl-congestion-charge/id1115214764?ls=1&...