London is just one of the 12 major cities around the world that have committed to reducing the use of fossil fuels in their streets to zero by 2030. Co-signatories on the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Declaration are Auckland, Barcelona, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan, Paris, Quito, Seattle and Vancouver. The mayors from each of these cities were responsible for signing the declaration.
One of the provisions of the commitment is that these cities will, from 2025, only purchase buses that are ‘zero-emission’. The mayors must also make sure that a large portion of their city is completely emission free by 2030. This is in line with one of the main policies written in the agreement, which states that there should be a focus on reducing air pollution.
The decrease in air pollution will have numerous benefits, such as significantly improving the quality of life for the people who live in big cities. It will also help cities in their drive to combat climate change.
It has been noted that around a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in these large and populous cities come from vehicles. Traffic has been identified as the leading cause of air pollution.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, has declared his commitment to achieve these goals and to battle against the disastrous state of London’s air quality. He hopes that by combatting the toxic emissions he can make London a zero carbon city.
This resolution by Khan comes in the wake of his introduction of the T-Charge. This fee is levied on older vehicles with high emissions ratings. The charge is £10 a day on top of the congestion charge that is already in place. The idea behind the charge is to encourage people to stop driving older, dirty vehicles and polluting the city with them.
But, Khan does not intend to stop there. He says this is just the first step and that in the next few years London will be implementing a number of other restrictions to keep the city as clean as possible. He says he will also be revamping the London bus fleet and making sure that no new double decker diesel buses are bought. Cycle lanes are also being built across the city in order to encourage transport by bike, particularly around schools.
The Mayor of London concluded by saying that he wants London to be known as the greenest city in the world. Indeed, he stated, “I’m putting walking, cycling and zero emission public transport right at the heart of Londoners’ day-to-day lives alongside energy efficient buildings, clean energy and increased recycling.”