London mayor Sadiq Khan launches low-emission bus zone
The first of 12 low-emission bus zones (LEBZ) has been launched by London mayor Sadiq Khan as part of his strategy to tackle air pollution.
It was established earlier in Putney High Street, one of the most polluted areas of London.
Only buses that meet the toughest emission standards will now be able to run in the Putney LEBZ, City Hall said.
It said Putney exceeded hourly legal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on 1,248 occasions in 2016.
Under European Union rules, the limit should not be exceeded more than 18 times in a year.
The changes, which affect 145 buses on seven scheduled routes in Putney, are expected to reduce bus emissions across the 12 zones by over 80%.
The launch of the LEBZ comes as a recent opinion poll found nine out of 10 Londoners believe air pollution is at "crisis" level.
A report released by the mayor last week showed that every London borough has recorded illegally high levels of air pollution in the past two years, with Wandsworth recording some of the highest levels.
Wandsworth has exceeded the annual mean limit for NO2 pollution at five out of six of its automatic monitoring stations, with the sites on Putney High Street recording levels more than double the legal limit.
London's new low emission bus zones:
- Putney High Street - from Putney Station to Putney Bridge Road
- Brixton to Streatham - from Brixton Hill via Stockwell Road and Streatham High Road to Streatham Place
- A12 Eastern Avenue - from Blake Hall Road via High Road Leyton and Homerton High Street to Marsh Hill
- Lewisham to Catford - from Bromley Road via Rushey Green to Lewisham High Street
- Stratford - from Abbey Lane via Mile End Road to Woodgrange Road
- Haringey - from High Road to Green Lanes
- Camberwell to New Cross - from Blackheath Road via Camberwell Green and Peckham High Street to Wood's Green
- Wandsworth to St John's Hill - from Lavender Hill to Wandsworth Road.
- Edgware Road (Kilburn to Maida Vale) - from Cricklewood Broadway via Kilburn High Road to Shoot-Up Hill
- Edmonton to Seven Sisters - from Amhurst Park via Green Lanes and Seven Sisters Road to The Broadway
- Uxbridge Road to Shepherds Bush - from Ealing Broadway via Hanger Lane to Uxbridge Road, The Broadway
- Chiswick High Road to Kensington - via Hammersmith Broadway and Kensington High Street to Studland Street
The 11 further LEBZs will be introduced by 2020, with the Brixton to Streatham one to be launched in October.
The mayor has previously announced that diesel-only buses will be phased out in London, which will only buy hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from 2018.
Mr Khan said "London's toxic air is an outrage and I promised to make cleaning it up one of my top priorities.
"I have asked TfL to remove the oldest, dirtiest buses from our streets and this new route, along with the 11 others we'll be introducing, will make a big difference to the pollution caused by our public transport system.
"I now need other cities around the world to work with me to demand cleaner bus technology so we can phase out diesel buses altogether."