The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has unveiled a £2.5 million funding drive for electric vehicles designed to help improve the capital’s faltering air quality.
The mayor’s office has collaborated with Transport for London, Heathrow Airport and nine London boroughs to launch six individual schemes, each intended to tackle what the mayor has labelled an “air quality emergency”.
The six schemes fall under a programme dubbed ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’ which is intended to remove barriers preventing people and businesses from investing in electric vehicles.
Those initiatives include;
- Hammersmith and Fulham will establish a zero emission zone in Hammersmith town centre, complete with standard and rapid EV charge points.
- Heathrow Airport will trial a hydrogen-diesel powered van at its delivery consolidation centre to reduce emissions.
- Electric streets will be created in Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets to help increase the concentration of EV charge points and EV-only parking bays.
- Local businesses in Harrow will trial the use of EV fleets.
- Clean energy charging schemes, including a rapid charging taxi rank and behavioural change initiatives for businesses, will be launched in Haringey.
- Electric vans and trucks will be loaned to businesses in the Beddington Industrial Area in Croydon and Sutton.
The initiatives fall under the mayor’s wider pledge to invest some £875 million over five years to improve London’s air quality, which has been a repeated bone of contention over the last few years.
The capital breached its annual air pollution limit just five days into 2017, with roads in Brixton, Putney, Oxford Street and Chelsea known to be hotspots for toxic NO2.
Meanwhile the installation of EV charging infrastructure has continued to underwhelm. Former mayor of London Boris Johnson repeatedly missed targets for the adoption of EVs despite launching a well-publicised drive in 2012 to become the “electric car capital of Europe”.
Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for environment and energy, said the schemes announced last week would play a “direct role” in cleaning London’s air and could pave the way for similar initiatives to follow.
“It’s only by working closely with councils, businesses and local communities across London that we can fulfil our ambition of being a world leader in tackling the air pollution crisis,” she added.
Transport minister John Hayes also spoke of the need to boost the take-up of ULEVs, adding that the government was “determined” to do so in order to boost quality of life.