London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the city’s plans for the biggest car-free day, in an effort to tackle air pollution in the UK capital.
The 22nd of September will see roads closed around London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, and will cover a total 20 kilometer stretch of the city.
The initiative is part of the mayor’s efforts to encourage the use of public transport, cycling, and good old "shank’s pony" to reduce carbon emissions in the city.
The issue is a serious one. Poor air quality due to air pollution has led to more than two million London residents living in areas with NO2 emissions in excess of legal limits. Of those two million people, over 400,000 are under the age of 18.
A recent survey by Transport for London (TFL) found that half of residents surveyed didn’t realise that vehicle emissions were the main cause (more than 50%) of pollution.
The day is promised to be a busy one, with events and performances planned all over the city, and “Play Streets” set up for children. The idea is for Londoners to view the city through new eyes.
Mayor Khan said: “London is leading the way in innovative measures to improve air pollution and I want this year’s Car Free Day events to be the best of any world city. This will be a great opportunity for us all to leave our cars behind and explore our streets by foot, or by bike. We’ve called our range of events ‘Reimagine’ so that Londoners get an idea of what some of the busiest parts of our city would be like without cars and traffic. There will be tons of performances and activities for people of all ages to try and enjoy.
“I encourage as many Londoners as possible to join in the fun and see the city from a different perspective. I will continue to work with those boroughs who are forward-looking and want to think differently about how to use road space. Hopefully this will shame into life those boroughs with outdated views who are dragging their feet.”