The last two days London was on a ‘very high’ alert for air pollution as the capital suffers under toxic air. Warnings have been issued at bus stops, Tube stations and roadsides, everyone is being urged to take precautions to protect themselves from the ‘filthy air’. When I was walking my son past busy traffic to nursery today I thought about this warning, which should be a wake up call for all politicians in London to take action.
It is important to stress that this is a pan-London issue. The Corporation should therefore accelerate its joint work with the Boroughs and the Greater London Authority. Recent initiatives such as the plans from the City of London and the Mayor of London for a Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) in the Barbican, Guildhall and Barts area are a good example of how the City can join forces within a wider London context. But there is more the City can do.
I have lived in Amsterdam and have seen how segregated space for bicycles drastically improves road safety. There are more and more cyclists on the roads in London. In zone 1 for example TfL indicated last year that during the morning rush hour, 32 per cent of all vehicles on the roads are now bicycles
It is of course important to test different options, however where it is practical do so (i.e. there is enough space) I think segregated space for bicycles are a good thing. It is also important to look at pedestrian spaces and crossings in the City.
The City could also promote electric cars through installing more recharging points. Gasoline and diesel cars emit nitrogen and sulphur compounds that contribute to smoggy skies in our cities. See a recent interesting article in The Guardian about the pros and cons of electric vehicles here.
There are of course other measures the City could take. It would be great to hear your thoughts – contact me here.