Sadiq Khan pledges millions to tackle Tower Hamlets’ toxic air

Pollution plan: London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Tower Hamlets is one of eight London boroughs to benefit from the Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new pollution-busting scheme.

The City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood proposal, which also covers Hackney and Islington, includes tree planting, improved pavements and cycle routes, and parking spaces reserved for only the cleanest vehicles.

The Mayor’s cash injection, along with an agreement for ‘like-for-like’ funding from boroughs, means the number of Low Emissions Neighbourhoods will increase from two to five.

These neighbourhoods 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.”

Pollution monitoring shows Tower Hamlets suffers from huge amounts of vehicle emissions and very high nitrogen dioxide levels around main roads.

John Biggs, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Sadiq Khan promised to put tackling poor air quality at the heart of his administration and I am delighted that Tower Hamlets will be one of the first to benefit as a result of this announcement.

“Toxic air isn’t just a major factor in many serious health problems, it is a killer and something our city needs to take seriously. The City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood is an important step towards reducing air pollution in East London and making the air we breathe far healthier.”

“Sadiq Khan promised to put tackling poor air quality at the heart of his administration and I am delighted that Tower Hamlets will be one of the first to benefit as a result of this announcement.

Simon Alcock, spokesperson for environmental lawyers ClientEarth, praised the Mayor’s plans: “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.”