The Mayor of London has announced the creation of a City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood as part of an £11million investment in fighting toxic air. In case you're wondering, that's Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington rolled up together to make one of five areas to be funded through TfL by Sadiq Khan.
The eight boroughs involved across the capital have agreed to provide similar levels of funding for the project.
Measures include tree planting, improved pavements and cycle routes and designated parking spaces for use by the cleanest vehicles only.
No explanation is given on how the latter would be policed or, for that matter, what a "hard-hitting" emphasis on walking and cycling actually entails.
Doubtless all will become clear by 2019, when the zones are due to come into full effect with TfL having spent its £5million contribution and the boroughs a combined £6million.
This is an increase on the funding of such projects from £2million under Boris Johnson, who backed projects by two councils.
Government must step up
Sadiq said: “Make no mistake: London is in the midst of an air quality crisis.
"Air pollution is permanently affecting children’s lung development and nearly 10,000 Londoners are dying early every year due to the long-term exposure of London’s dirty air.
“We need urgent and bold action and this includes targeted local initiatives to tackle some of the worst pollution hotspots in London.
“The previous Mayor committed to funding two local projects, but I don’t think this goes far enough.
"So I’m delighted to announce that we will now be funding five key areas across London – helping to tackle air pollution and transforming neighbourhoods.
“The action we are taking in the capital is vital, but it’s imperative that our ambition is matched by ministers.
"That’s why I’m also calling on Government ministers to put in place incentives for people to switch to low-emission vehicles, as well as providing London with additional powers and funding to help tackle this public health crisis.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Sadiq promised to put tackling poor air quality at the heart of his administration and I am delighted Tower Hamlets will be one of the first to benefit as a result of this announcement.
“Toxic air isn’t just a major factor in many serious health problems, it is a killer and something our city needs to take seriously.
"The City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood is an important step towards reducing air pollution in east London and making the air we breathe far healthier.”
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