London Mayor launches five new low-emission bus zones across capital
Saqid Khan has unveiled five new Low Emission Bus Zones (LEBZs) across London, in a drive to tackle the city's air pollution problem.
Operating between Camberwell and New Cross; Wandsworth and St John Hill; High Road Haringey to Green Lanes; Edgeware Road to Maida Vale and the A12 Eastern Avenue to Homerton Road, the zones require all buses which operate within them to meet the Euro 6 emissions standards.
The launch of the five zones, which was completed on Friday (16 November), has seen more than 1,400 buses across 10 London boroughs replaced or retrofitted to ensure they meet the necessary emissions requirements.
Khan claims the launch of the zones will enable the Greater London Authority (GLA) to deliver 12 LEBZs across London boroughs by the end of 2019 - a year earlier than originally planned.
Speaking at an event to launch the New Cross to Camberwell zone on Friday, Khan said: “Pollution from vehicles - including buses - are responsible for over half the harmful emissions we breathe.
“LEBZs are an effective way of dramatically reducing pollution and improving the health of thousands of Londoners who live or work along the worst air quality hotspots.”
The launch of the new LEBZs follows on from the launch of the original zones – in Putney High Street and on Brixton Road – in 2017. Since the launch of those zones, Putney High Street has breached legal air pollution limits for just two hours during 2018, compared to 807 hours in 2017. The move has also led to air quality improvements in Brixton, with Brixton Road seeing an 85% reduction in hours pollution exceeds legal limits since 2016.
“The results in Putney and Brixton speak for themselves,” Khan added.
“I’m doing everything in my power to improve our air, but with half of the UK’s roads which exceed legal limits located in London, the Government urgently needs to step up and allow us to access national funding for cities and to fund a national vehicle scrappage scheme to rid London’s streets of the dirtiest vehicles now.”
An electrifying bus ride
In related news, UK Power Networks (UKPN) has confirmed that it has completed work to install charging infrastructure for electric buses at Shephard’s Bush bus garage.
Commissioned by operator RATP Dev, the project will enable the simultaneous charging of 36 buses and provide an additional 2.5MW of capacity to power vehicles. The infrastructure notably uses a “timed connection”, allowing buses to charge overnight when local grid demand is low.
The move makes Shepherd’s Bush the fifth bus depot in London to undergo the installation of electric chargepoints, after similar works were carried out at Waterloo bus garage in 2016. The Waterloo project, also overseen by UKPN, reportedly led to a 900-tonne reduction in the bus fleet’s annual CO2 emissions.
"We have been looking forward to the upgrade of this depot, which very tangibly demonstrates our commitment to clean and sustainable travel," RATP Group’s chief executive Catherine Guillouard said.
"RATP Group's aim to switch to 100% clean buses reflects our ambition to be an innovative and trusted partner of the city of London in its journey towards being a smarter and more sustainable city."
The completion of the project comes as Khan strives to ensure that all of London’s buses are classed as zero-emission by 2037. Earlier this summer, the GLA progressed towards this goal by ordering 68 fully-electric double-decker buses.