The Mayor of London has ordered a fleet of 68 new zero-emission buses to tackle air pollution in the UK capital.
The electric vehicles will join London’s existing fleet of 8,000 buses next summer. Local governing body Transport for London (TfL) aims to have 240 electric buses on the network by 2019, which will be the largest of its kind within Europe.
The news comes during a summit in which city leaders from around the country are discussing how to improve air quality. Earlier this week, the group, which represents over 20 million people, called on the government to bring forward its diesel and petrol ban to 2030.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “Leaders from across England and Wales have never met in such numbers to tackle our nation’s toxic air quality. It shows how serious our problem is and how committed we are to tackling it.”
“I’m delighted to be able to announce a Europe-leading new fleet of electric double-decker buses too. We’re doing all we can to improve our air quality and we need the government to match our ambition to solve this national health crisis,” he added.
Further to these commitments, two entire routes in London will now be served by electric buses; all single-deck buses in central London will be zero-emission, or hybrid, by 2020. The Mayor has a long-term goal to transform all buses to be free from toxic emissions by the 2030s.
Claire Mann at TfL said: “Buses are crucial to reduce Londoners’ reliance on cars...Electric buses are good for air quality and improve the customer experience, with less noise and fewer vibrations, all creating a more comfortable journey.”
Air pollution has become a major political issue in the UK, especially in the capital. Despite London having lower levels of toxic pollutants than other European cities, thousands of premature deaths are still caused by particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.