The question of air pollution in London has been again in the news recently. However, there is always one word missing from any comments on this matter, and that word is TROLLEYBUS.
Up to the 1960s, London had the largest trolleybus system in the British Isles. There were other towns and cities which had them - Bournemouth, Bradford, Newcastle to name but a few - but not on the same scale as London. These systems were all dismantled in the 1960s as the price of diesel fuel was so cheap that it was considered to be more economical to replace them with diesel buses. We now know that economic factors are not the only ones to take into account - there is the issue of polluting emissions. In 1971 we had the first of the oil crises with the consequent increase in prices, but, by that time, all the trolleybuses had gone.
They can still be found in other cities e.g. St. Petersburg, Budapest. Milan (in these last two they co-exist with trams) and Lyons in France. The ones in Budapest, which I visited recently, are quite up-to-date, which means that the technology is still available, and is probably more modern that when we last had our own trolleybuses.
There has recently been some talk about extending the Croydon Tramlink to Sutton. Consider the options: a tram extension will involve considerable disruption lasting several years and causing its own pollution during the construction, not to mention the cost. A trolleybus system would involve minimal disruption, and the system could be installed in a matter of months rather than years, and the installation would not cause any pollution. Another point is the origin of manufacture: the tram systems in the U.K. all use vehicles built abroad, whereas the buses (and therefore trolleybuses) are and could be built in Britain, thus helping the domestic economy.
Consider this elsewhere: how would it be if Oxford Street had trolleybuses instead of buses.
Trolleybuses are silent and are EMISSION-FREE.