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London transport to be zero emissions, says mayor

Tube

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has set out an ambitious draft transport strategy, which includes pledges to make the city’s transport network zero emissions by 2050 in a bid to tackle pollution.

The mayor has set a target to cut car journeys in London by 3M per day, and to ensure 80% of all journeys are taken using public transport by 2041.

Khan’s proposal to make London a zero emission city looks to build on the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), with zero emission zones in central London by 2025 building to a city-wide zone in 2050.

Khan also said he would be “forging ahead” with Crossrail 2, which still does not have a firm commitment from government on its future, and pledged to continue modernising major Tube lines.

“London is the greatest city in the world and as it continues to grow it is vital that we take a bold approach to ensure our transport network works for all. We simply cannot afford to take the same old approach to travel as our growing population puts increasing pressure on our network,” said Khan.

“That’s why today I’m setting out a new long-term vision for our capital – one that puts walking, cycling and zero-emission public transport right at the heart of our day-to-day lives.”

All buses will be zero emission in the capital by 2037 under the plans, while all single-decker buses will hit zero emissions from 2020.

However, some industry figures have said the plan does not go far enough to tackle emissions from transport.

“The London Mayor’s Transport Strategy presents a good vision, but is it bold enough? Why should we have to wait until 2041 to reduce vehicle traffic in central London by 10-15%, surely the advent of electric vehicles should mean we can deliver Healthy Streets in a much shorter timeframe,” said Ramboll UK managing director Mathew Riley.

“As an industry, we need to consider what we can do to help deliver this strategy, and also to make it more affordable. There is enough capital investment to finally transform the way we work and deliver projects, close our industry’s woeful productivity gap, and deliver design, engineering and construction the way it should be.”

The draft transport strategy also includes plans to improve 4G connectivity underground and extensions to the DLR and Overground lines.

Environmental law firm ClientEarth, which has taken the government to court several times over its poor Air Quality Plan, welcomed the zero emissions pledge but questioned the proposed timeline.

“The Mayor is showing much-needed ambition by putting London on the path to a zero emissions transport network. But we believe this can and must be delivered much sooner than 2050,” said ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton.

London’s population is expected to reach 10.5M people by 2041, meaning an extra 5M journeys per day for TfL.

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