Air Pollution in Oxford Street

MQT on 2014-01-29
Session date: 
January 29, 2014
Question By: 
Murad Qureshi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given that the London Air Quality Network's air pollution sensor in Oxford Street reported a breach of the nitrogen dioxide hourly legal limit for the whole of 2014 in the first five days of this year, what action are you taking to ensure only the cleanest buses use Oxford Street?


Answer for Air Pollution in Oxford Street

Answer for Air Pollution in Oxford Street

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Air pollution along Oxford Street is caused by a variety of sources including buses, taxis, freight movements and building emissions. I have been working closely with the London Borough of Westminster to address these.

For buses, I am retrofitting 159 older Euro 3 generation buses, which regularly serve Oxford Street, with selective catalytic reduction equipment by March 2014. This will cut their tailpipe NOx - which includes nitrogen dioxide - by up to 88 per cent. I am also increasing the number of hybrid buses from approximately a third of buses operating at the rush-hour peak to roughly half by June this year and 65 per cent by summer 2015.

The New Bus for London, which is the cleanest hybrid double decker in the fleet, will make a significant contribution. It is already deployed on route 390, and will also be rolled out to route 148, which passes Marble Arch, on February 15; route 10, which travels along Oxford Street, on April 26; and route 8, which passes through Oxford Circus, in June. The cumulative effect of these measures will be a significant cut in road-side nitrogen dioxide from buses.

For taxis, I have already retired more than 3,000 of the most polluting taxis. In January I set out a new requirement for all newly licenced taxis to be zero emission capable. The first of these will be on London's streets from 2015.

Working with private sector partners, I have supported the Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (FREVUE) project to consolidate freight activity along Regent Street and using electric vehicles for zero emission "last mile" deliveries.

Through my Air Quality Fund, I have provided £330,000 to the Cross River Partnership to engage with businesses, Business Improvement Districts, such as the New West End Company, and the Crown Estates to raise awareness amongst staff, reduce unnecessary deliveries and tackle building emissions. I have provided a further £100,000 to Westminster for additional measures to reduce human exposure focused in and around Oxford Street.

By taking a comprehensive approach looking at all emission sources and working in partnership with the various businesses operating along Oxford Street, I am confident that air quality along Oxford Street will continue to improve.