Sadiq Khan is making the right noises on pollution problems, but London is lagging behind European counterparts

Joseph Seal-Driver
London From The Air
Sadiq Khan has made tackling London's air quality a central pillar of his mayoralty (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan has already had a considerable impact since coming into office, first with the T Charge and more recently with the introduction of ‘Air Quality Alerts’ across London.

And today is the first day of new air quality alerts at bus stops, Tube stations and road sides across London during days of high and very high pollution.

But although the new mayor is taking positive steps in the right direction, London needs to double its efforts to even begin to match the attitudes of other European cities.

More needs to be done in the transport space if he wants an improvement in air quality to become a reality.

Plenty of progressive policies such as car sharing have been swiftly adopted and integrated by other European cities, and London must now follow their lead.

Read More: Khan fleshes out air quality clamp down plans

An example of one such city is Copenhagen, where its version of the Oyster Card can not only be used for traditional public transport, but also serves to hire both bicycles and electric cars by the minute.

By integrating more modes of transport into the city’s public network, journeys have become shorter, faster and more efficient, reducing both emissions and traffic.

If we want to substantially improve air quality and reduce traffic in London, these are the kinds of top-down, forward-thinking policies we need to see implemented.

We are entering an age of optimisation, where you can plan a route (CityMapper), get a burger (Deliveroo) or hire a car outside your door (DriveNow) at the touch of the button.

Harnessing the power of current technology is essential if we want to keep London moving, and breathing.

Read More: Banning diesel cars is the wrong way to tackle pollution in London

London policy-makers need to encourage both a residential and a commercial behavioural shift towards greener ways of getting around or doing business.

Walking, cycling and electric vehicles are clearly the end-goal for green cities, but alongside this there are wider measures such as car clubs that have been proven to assist in this transition, and which must be integrated into the wider transport network.

London is lagging behind the pack right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing the progress we can make under our ambitious new mayor’s leadership.

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