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Hundreds of car-free areas to be created in London

Hundreds of car-free areas are set to be created in London following a £6 million investment from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund.

The projects include estabilshing cour new low emission neighbourhoods (LENs) will be established in Hackney, Dagenham, Southwark and Camden.

LENs receive funding and support to install electric vehicle charge points, expand cycle lanes, establish green walls and investigate traffic reduction schemes. This funding will be matched with almost £3 million from the relevant boroughs.

Boroughs across London will also work with the Mayor to deliver 11 further projects to improve air quality, including a project to tackle emissions from South London construction sites, an anti-engine-idling campaign spread across 27 boroughs, school streets in Redbridge, a zero-emission zone in the City, cargo bikes in Camden and retrofitting boats to cut emissions on the Thames.

These projects will share £4 million from the Mayor, match funded with almost £6 million from the boroughs.

The funding is the final round of the £22 million air quality Ffund which has delivered projects across London and has now supported the creation of nine low emission neighbourhoods, and 60 other projects to improve the capital’s air quality.

The latest our approved LENs are:

  • Stoke Newington Church Street, Hackney - includes public realm improvements on the High Street, along with support for cycling, walking and electric vehicles. The project will also consider a range of options for reducing polluting vehicles on Church Street, in consultation with local people.
  • Camden Town, Camden – includes a trial closures of the High Street on select days during summer and Christmas as well as a low emission route to the market, and a host of upgraded walking and cycling routes.
  • Becontree Heath, Barking and Dagenham – includes traffic calming, road closures, and trial schemes to allow only cyclists, and pedestrians to use certain streets as well as new pocket places (underused areas of public realm that will be improved with planting/seating/art) and encouraging ‘pop up’ use of underutilised spaces.
  • Walworth Road, Southwark – includes measures to stop rat running, a new community space and pocket park; as well as new charging facilities for electric vehicles.

One LEN already in place is the City Fringe LEN which is a collaborative scheme between the boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets, based in Shoreditch.

It was funded with £1 million from the second round of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund and match funded by the boroughs. 

The LEN has pioneered the world’s first ultra low emission-only streets. These are two small clusters of streets in Hackney which prohibit the entry of petrol, diesel and older hybrid vehicles at certain times of the day restricting entry to only cyclists, pedestrians and ultra Low emission vehicles – the first zone of its type anywhere in the world. 

Jon Burke, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, said: “Since they were implemented, motor traffic using these streets at peak times has reduced by up to 70%, improving air quality in one of the most polluted areas in London and reclaiming the streets for the thousands of people that walk and cycle on them every day.

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded additional funding to improve air quality in Stoke Newington, where we’re going to be making it easier to walk and cycle and, in consultation with local people, investigating how we can restrict polluting vehicles on Church Street.”

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