London joined the BreatheLife network on October 4 as the world’s first mega-city to commit to reaching WHO’s air quality guidelines. These “gold standard” recommendations for air quality set serious limits on health-harmful pollutants.
The WHO recommends an upper limit of health-harmful fine particles (PM2.5) of 10 micrograms/cubic meter, and this is the target London plans to reach by 2030. London’s Air Quality department has done extensive analysis to ensure that this is an ambitious but realistic target.
It’s a big goal, but London has an extensive plan in place to meet it, backed by serious science and stakeholder consensus. The city’s air quality strategy centers around another ambitious target: becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050. Achieving this vision will require broad citywide action, from the institutional level to the individual.
Here are some key aspects of London’s vision and strategy for cleaner air.
By 2041, Londoners will make 80 percent of their trips on foot, by cycle or by public transport (currently, that number is 64 percent).
All taxis and cars-for-hire will be zero emission by 2033; all buses will be zero emission by 2037; all new road vehicles in London will be zero emission by 2040; and the whole transport system will be zero emission by 2050.
London will be a zero-carbon city by 2050.
Develop a resilient, low or zero-carbon energy infrastructure that allows London to generate more of its own energy and is secure and scalable long-term.
Implement a “Healthy Streets” approach, cutting down on car traffic to make local streets more pleasant for pedestrians.
Build the biodiesel industry to fuel government-owned vehicles — also great for green jobs!
Improve energy efficiency in buildings. RE:NEW is helping many organizations carry out renovation projects to make buildings more energy-efficient. By January 2017, RE:NEW had helped improve 127,500 London homes with energy savings of 46,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Replace and repair Londoners’ inefficient and broken boilers with the £1m Better Boilers fund, saving 310 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
Get more information on London’s air quality plan:
Working with the London boroughs
On August 11, Mayor Sadiq published a draft of the London Environment Strategy. This plan is open for public comment until November 17. Explore the full plan and offer your feedback on the vision.