Pollution limits for 2017 have already been breached in Brixton Road, Lambeth.

New low emission bus zones introduced in London as annual pollution limit breached

Image credit: PA

Ten new low emission bus zones will be established in the UK’s capital, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced, just as a road in Lambeth claimed the sad victory of becoming the first area in the city exceeding the air pollution limit for the whole year.

The ten new zones including Edmonton, Stratford and Haringey will see greener buses including hybrids and those meeting Euro VI standards deployed in order to reduce dangerous levels of nitrogen oxide.

It is hoped the new technology could cut down nitrogen oxide concentrations by up to 84 per cent. Diesel-powered buses are among the major contributors to air pollution.

The announcement has been made shortly after it was revealed that nitrogen oxide levels in Brixton Road, Lambeth, exceeded annual hourly limits only five days into 2017.

European Union limits demand that maximum hourly concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, which is mostly caused by road traffic in towns and cities, are not exceeded for more than 18 hours a year.

But monitoring by the London Air project from King’s College, London, showed that the rules had been breached by 9pm on Thursday for the pollutant, which is linked to heart and lung problems and even early deaths. Other London roads are expected to exceed the limits shortly.

In 2016, it took Putney High Street until 8 January to exceed the limit. Both Brixton and Putney are covered by previously announced low emission bus zones, of which there will be now 12 on London.

The Putney High Street scheme and the route between Brixton and Streatham will be implemented this year, while the 10 routes announced today will be delivered by 2020.

In addition to the cleaner vehicles, some £50m will be invested into bus priority schemes that will allow buses to pass through congested areas faster in order to reduce emissions.

Last year, Transport for London announced it will start phasing out diesel-only buses and will only be purchasing hybrid or zero-emissions double decker buses from 2018.

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