Sadiq Khan boosts pollution fund to tackle London toxic air hotspots

19 July 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is to help some of London’s most polluted boroughs implement new hard-hitting measures to tackle toxic air quality hot spots and filthy emission fumes with an £11m fund.


Five ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ will be set up across eight boroughs, with pollution-busting measures including strict new penalties for the most polluting vehicles, car-free days, green taxi ranks for zero emission-capable cabs and parking reserved for the cleanest vehicles.


By injecting more cash and securing  'like-for-like' funding from boroughs, the Mayor has expanded the number of ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ from two to five, benefiting eight London boroughs.


The new Low Emissions Neighbourhoods will come into full effect by the start of 2019. This is the latest initiative in the Mayor’s fight against London’s filthy air, which was kick-started earlier this month at the launch of a major public consultation. Proposals in the consultation include an Emission Surcharge ‘T Charge’ from 2017 for the most polluting vehicles entering central London and the extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone by 2020 or earlier.


The five Low Emissions Neighbourhoods will take place in the following boroughs and proposals include:

·         Westminster – the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood is a partnership between the council and local stakeholders including residents associations and business improvement districts.  Proposals includes better management of taxi ranks, improving building emissions and an electric vehicle delivery scheme in conjunction with UPS consolidating freight delivery to cut down on vehicles on the road.

·         Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets – the City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood proposal includes tree planting, an emphasis on walking and cycling with improved pavements and cycle routes, and parking spaces for the sole use of the cleanest vehicles.

·         City of London – the Barbican Low Emission Neighbourhood proposal includes no-idling zones where stationary vehicles must turn off their engines, restricted access to certain streets for all but the cleanest vehicles and green taxi ranks.

·         Greenwich – the Town Centre and Trafalgar Road Low Emissions Neighbourhood proposal includes a series of car-free days in the town centre, an incentive scheme to encourage walking and cycling and an extensive series of mini parks throughout the area.

·         Redbridge and Newham – the Ilford Garden Junction Low Emission Neighbourhood proposal includes a green barrier between the road and pavement to reduce pedestrians’ exposure to fumes, plus other road restrictions.


Sadiq Khan has significantly increased funding for Low Emission Neighbourhoods from £2m under the previous Mayor to a total investment of £11m – comprising £5m from Transport for London and £6m from the boroughs – and expanding the initiative from two boroughs to eight.


The Mayor is urging the Government to follow his lead and provide greater funding to tackle the growing air quality crisis in London and across the UK – currently just £500,000 is made available across the whole country.  


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:


“Make no mistake: London is in the midst of an air quality crisis. Air pollution is permanently affecting children’s lung development and nearly 10,000 Londoners are dying early every year due to the long-term exposure of London’s dirty air. 


“We need urgent and bold action and this includes targeted local initiatives to tackle some of the worst pollution hotspots in London. 


“The previous Mayor committed to funding two local projects, but I don’t think this goes far enough.  So I’m delighted to announce that we will now be funding five key areas across London – helping to tackle air pollution and transforming neighbourhoods. 


“The action we are taking in the capital is vital, but it’s imperative that our ambition is matched by Ministers.  That’s why I’m also calling on Government Ministers to put in place incentives for people to switch to low-emission vehicles, as well as providing London with additional powers and funding to help tackle this public health crisis.”

Notes to editors

1.       Low Emission Neighbourhoods are being funded in addition to a range of other borough air quality projects that are being supported by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund (MAQF). The MAQF is providing an additional £5million for a range of borough-wide projects such as anti-idling campaigns, over the next three years. Combined with the LEN funding this brings the total that the Mayor is providing directly to local authorities for air quality projects to approximately £10million over the next three years.

2.       The first stage of the Mayor’s Clean Air consultation is now underway, with later stages focusing on more detailed engagement around the £10 Emissions Surcharge (‘T-Charge’) and ULEZ. The next stage is due in the autumn. To view the consultation visit


Additional quotes:


Ben Plowden, TfL’s Director of Surface Strategy and Planning, said: “To tackle the Capital’s poor air quality we need a range of interventions both large and small. The Mayor has already announced wide-ranging proposals which are aimed at improving the environment across large swathes of the Capital. Low Emission Neighbourhoods are another piece of the jigsaw, taking a localised and holistic approach to cleaning up London’s air. Congratulations to the successful boroughs who have come up with some truly innovative initiatives.”


Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, Westminster City Council, said: "This is wonderful news for all our residents, businesses and visitors. We thank Mayor Sadiq Khan for endorsing our proposals. It will mean that we can tackle air quality issues by putting in place new and innovative schemes that will have a real impact on pollution.  This will help improve health and wellbeing and also go a long way towards creating a greener and cleaner city for everyone.


"We have worked in close collaboration with local residents, businesses and land owners, so the environmental outcomes will gather momentum, as partners benefit from each other's experience and expertise to help build a greener Marylebone."


Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Sustainability, Hackney Council: “I am delighted that we have received this funding – it’s a great opportunity to build on our work with Tower Hamlets and Islington to improve air quality in one of the most built up parts of the capital. Air pollution knows no boundaries, so this is a fantastic opportunity to work together and make our part of London a greener, healthier and happier place to live, work and visit.”


Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Sadiq Khan promised to put tackling poor air quality at the heart of his administration and I am delighted that Tower Hamlets will be one of the first to benefit as a result of this announcement.


“Toxic air isn’t just a major factor in many serious health problems, it is a killer and something our city needs to take seriously. The City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood is an important step towards reducing air pollution in East London and making the air we breathe far healthier.”


Wendy Mead, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, said“We are creating a low emissions neighbourhood that will result in a real improvement in air quality in the very heart of London.


“Our proposals are ambitious and comprehensive. They will tackle all sources of emissions in the City, from building emissions to traffic pollution.


“The low emissions neighbourhood project will not only have a beneficial impact on air quality in the Barbican area but also result in a cleaner City with less traffic, an improved environment and safer places to cycle and walk.”


Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability, Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “Today’s announcement from the new Mayor of London, on funding for the Royal Borough to create a new Low Emission Neighbourhood is fantastic news. We know that air quality is a major issue and this funding will help us to focus our efforts on new measures that will help improve air quality in the new Low Emission Neighbourhood that we will be able to create in west Greenwich. As well as physical changes to the environment with the creation of new community-focused streets and green spaces, the project will enable us to start new tech trials to encourage the take-up of cleaner/electric vehicles and see how we can better manage the freight and transport that flows through that particular area. This is an ambitious project but one the Royal Borough is committed to, for the sake of all our residents. I look forward to the day that this work can be undertaken elsewhere in the Royal Borough.”


Councillor John Howard, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, Redbridge Council said, “I’m delighted that both Boroughs have been successful in this joint funding bid and I look forward to enjoying the physical and environmental benefits that this project will bring.


“This area suffers from high levels of airborne pollution from heavy traffic and this project aims to help alleviate that through the use of plants that absorb pollutants.”

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