Sadiq Khan pledges extra £9 million to tackle London’s toxic air

Pollution plan: London Mayor Sadiq Khan

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is to extend a pollution-busting scheme in the capital.

The number of Low Emissions Neighbourhoods will increase from two to five, benefiting eight boroughs.

Proposals for these areas include tree planting, improved pavements and cycle routes, and parking spaces reserved for only the cleanest vehicles.

The scheme will come into full effect by the start of 2019.

Mayor Khan said: “Make no mistake: London is in the midst of an air quality crisis. Air pollution is permanently affecting children’s lung development and nearly 10,000 Londoners are dying early every year due to the long-term exposure of London’s dirty air.

“We need urgent and bold action and this includes targeted local initiatives to tackle some of the worst pollution hotspots in London.”

A study by King’s College London estimates that over 9,000 people a year die in the capital because of long-term exposure to pollution.

Ben Plowden, Transport for London’s (TfL) director of surface strategy and planning, said: “To tackle the capital’s poor air quality we need a range of interventions both large and small.

“The mayor has already announced wide-ranging proposals which are aimed at improving the environment across large swathes of the capital. Low Emission Neighbourhoods are another piece of the jigsaw, taking a localised and holistic approach to cleaning up London’s air.

“Congratulations to the successful boroughs who have come up with some truly innovative initiatives.”

Simon Alcock, spokesperson for environmental lawyers ClientEarth, praised the mayor’s plans.

He said: “We welcome the mayor’s commitment to tackle London’s pollution hotspots and the much needed support for London’s boroughs.

“This will help tackle London’s public health crisis caused by air pollution but also needs to be combined with bold policies such as a bigger and better Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) as proposed by the mayor last month.

“The government need to stop dragging their feet too. We need a new Clean Air Act that is bold and ambitious so everyone can breathe cleaner air.”