The West End Buyers Club is being pioneered by the New West End Company, a business partnership hub for the area representing more than 600 businesses, and the Cross River Partnership, central London’s largest public-private partnership.

The Club offers exclusive deals and rates to West End businesses that use preferred contractors across three key areas of waste and recycling management, office supplies and delivery services. Use of preferred contractors, which includes First Mile for waste and recycling, will lower the number of vehicles entering the area daily to ease congestion and improve air quality.

A waste management trial was carried out on Bond Street, with the help of ARUP, and recorded a 94% reduction in the number of waste vehicles in the area each day. Estimates suggest that the decreased flow of vehicles reduced carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions by 76%, creating estimated business savings of more than £100,000 annually in reduced vehicle costs.

The initiative is an integral part of New West End Company’s Air Quality Strategy 2020, the UK’s first business-led scheme to tackle air pollution. The strategy has been running for almost a year and aims to orchestrate large-scale business action to benefit the local environment and air quality.

New West End Company’s managing director of trading environment Steven Medway said: “A world-class retail district needs world-class clean air, and we launched our Air Quality Strategy 2020 in order to realise this.

“The West End Buyers Club is one of a number of initiatives we working on with Cross River Partnership, businesses in the area and local suppliers to improve our carbon footprint and achieve our green vision for the West End.”

The Club will deliver services in the key areas across 25 streets including Oxford Street and Regent Street. Based on initial feedback, the scheme could be expanded to account for catering, couriers, building services, cleaning and taxi and travel. Anglo has already been confirmed as the preferred office supplier and will deliver all goods to West End offices using electric vehicles (EVs).

Airing dirty laundry

The initiative arrives during a time of heightened scrutiny on the capital’s air pollution woes. It breached annual legal limits for air pollution levels in several streets just five days in 2017 and the UK Government lost a High Court case in November against environmental law firm ClientEarth, over the failure of ministers to tackle illegal air quality levels across the country.

While improvement on London-based air quality has been slow, the Mayor of London has continuously outlined his intentions to improve the issue. Previously referring to the matter as an “issue of life or death”, Sadiq Khan wants businesses at the forefront of an ambitious plan to create “the greenest city in the world”.

Last month, a coalition of green groups including ClientEarth, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (FoE) launched to encourage the UK Government to take “urgent action” on air pollution through the creation of a new Clean Air Act.

Matt Mace

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