London mayor promises more investment in tackling air pollution

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-27 20:43:57|Editor: ZX
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LONDON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday announced a fund of almost 8 million U.S. dollars to help boroughs in the British capital create car-free streets and anti-pollution measures.

The fund will be used to target the worst polluted hot spots as part of a bigger multi-million dollar air quality drive by Khan.

Launching the new campaign in Leyton, Khan said: "Our filthy toxic air is a national health crisis, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year.

"The bold action we've already delivered such as establishing Low Emission Bus Zones and cleaning up the bus and taxi fleets are starting to have a positive impact. Today's funding will help boroughs to deliver targeted action to complement these strong measures and improve their local areas for the benefit of all Londoners.

"Despite all that I'm doing here in London, we can't win this battle until the government provides extra resources and delivers a national scrappage fund to get the dirtiest vehicles off our streets and a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century."

As well as working with boroughs on new ideas to target filthy air, part of the funding will be used to establish more Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs), cut emissions from construction machinery, create car-free and low-emission streets, and support people and businesses to start using ultra-low emission vehicles.

The London borough of Waltham Council has already created a "mini Holland" that has seen the creation of 22 kilometers of segregated cycle lanes, 660 new trees, 37 roads closed to through traffic and 15 new pocket parks. Meanwhile, innovative schemes like replacing delivery vans with cargo bikes have helped local businesses to make a tangible difference.

"Air quality is a huge concern for our residents," Council leader Clare Coghill said: "and sadly around 270 people in the borough die from illnesses related to air pollution every year. Therefore, we've made tackling this issue as a priority through the Enjoy Waltham Forest program and our work with the Mayor's Air Quality Fund. We've cut the number of households in the borough facing dangerously high levels of air pollution by 90 percent."

The Mayor is already supporting five borough-led Low Emission Neighbourhoods in some of London's busiest and most highly polluted areas, including in Westminster, the City of London, and Greenwich town center. Closer to central London nine streets in Hackney and Islington have this month been turned into ultra-low emission zones.

A City Hall spokesperson said: "Based on the Mayor's actions to clean up the capital's air, London is expected to be legally compliant with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits by 2025. However, Sadiq Khan wants to achieve legal limits well before this and adopt tighter World Health Organization recommended air quality guidelines."