Health experts say Sadiq Khan isn't doing enough to tackle pollution in London

Caitlin Morrison
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London To Introduce a Vehicle Pollution Charge
A think tank has called on the London mayor to focus on public transport (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan's plans to tackle pollution in the capital don't go far enough, according to a new report by a panel of health and environment experts.

According to 'Street Smarts', a report by the Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets, convened by the Centre for London: "London’s roads and streets are not serving the city’s needs. Congestion is on the rise. Air pollution has emerged as a very significant health concern, with approximately half of air pollution in London estimated to stem from road transport."

Congestion and pollution will only get worse as the capital’s population continues to grow, unless we adopt new policies and approaches

Khan's plans

The commission has released the report to coincide with the finalisation of the mayor's transport strategy, and called on Khan to "make more efficient use of London’s finite road network, by focusing his efforts on creating a transport system centred on public transport, walking and cycling, and making the most of new technology".

While the group said current mayoral plans for, among other things, no new diesel black cabs and the introduction of an ultra-low emissions zone, were welcome, it added: "They do not go far enough, and... additional interventions are needed."

The commission said: "Cycling infrastructure and wider, attractive pavements will encourage more of us to walk and cycle. New technology will make it ever easier to move around the city without a private car."

Achieving our vision for London will involve brave, skilled and farsighted leadership. But it is eminently achievable.

Mayor's office responds

Val Shawcross, the deputy mayor for transport, said the Centre for London's publication was "an important report which seeks to grapple with some of the biggest issues facing our city over the coming decades".

She said that, in line with the recommendations outlined in the report, the mayor's draft transport strategy outlines a "bold target of increasing the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, including record investment in new cycling infrastructure".

"We have some of the most ambitious plans to reduce dangerous emissions of any city in the world, and we will continue to keep London’s existing and planned road charging schemes under review, ensuring they deliver the best outcomes for our city over the coming years," Shawcross added.

"Taking bold action to get more people cycling, walking and using public transport will help Londoners get around our city more quickly and efficiently, tackle our toxic air pollution, and help improve the health of all of us."

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