London is one seriously smoggy city – let's not forget that our city managed to breach its annual air pollution limit for 2017 in five days. But in a move towards making the capital a little easier to breathe in, the first of Sadiq Khan’s green bus zones started running yesterday in Putney High Street. The Mayor of London announced a series of green bus zones on London's most polluted high streets earlier this year. They will use low-emission buses in the hope of reducing nitrogen dioxide by 84 percent in the capital’s pollution hot spots by 2020.
From today, only buses that comply with the toughest emission standards will be allowed to travel within the Putney Low Emission Bus Zone. The high street will also have measures in place to keep bus delays to a minimum and reduce pollution caused by traffic. It’s about time too: Putney High Street exceeded legal levels of nitrogen dioxide 1,248 times last year. Under EU rules, the limit shouldn’t be exceeded more than 18 times in a year. So there's definitely room for improvement.
Eleven more Low Emission Bus Zones will follow Putney, with zones in Brixton and Streatham set to start in October. The remaining zones, in areas including Lewisham, Wandsworth and Uxbridge, will be delivered by 2020.