New West End Company, alongside Cross River Partnership, has launched the UK’s first ever business-led scheme to drive improvements to air quality across London’s West End.
The strategy, which is already being backed by Longchamp and Grosvenor, has been designed to address concerns about the growing levels of air pollution in the capital. It suggests tangible actions that can be taken by businesses in the West End to reduce congestion and the emission of harmful gasses into the environment.
‘As the West End competes globally with other retail destinations, air quality becomes more and more crucial in providing a pleasurable experience for both visitors and residents, not just from a health point of view but also from a public realm perspective. Collaboration from businesses across the West End is crucial in taking action that reduces pollution.’
Managing Director Trading Environment at New West End Company
The strategy was launched to businesses and local stakeholders at an Air Quality Summit held at Regent Street cinema, where a panel discussion was chaired by Ben Rogers from Centre for London with speakers including Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member of Sustainability & Parking for Westminster City Council, Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross CBE and Interim Managing Director Planning at Transport for London, Alex Williams.
Positive changes are already taking place to address air quality in the West End. A New West End Company-led waste consolidation project in Bond Street has reduced the number of waste collection vehicles in the street from 144 to 37 and reduced waste collection costs by 25% for businesses.
The Wild West End project has also set in motion efforts to increase green space in the area, creating natural air filters while making the area a nicer place to be, improving biodiversity and managing storm water.
Priorities within the new strategy include converting fleets to low emission vehicles, improving the cycle-friendliness of the West End, encouraging low-emission building design and construction practices and installing green infrastructure in buildings to help filter air pollutants.
A range of other tools and metrics are also being launched to support businesses to initiate change. Hosted on an online Air Quality Action Hub, businesses can access information including case studies, suggested suppliers, live air quality data and a first of its kind business assessment tool to measure their current position, identify areas for improvement and report back on progress.
By working closely with local authorities, this scheme should see businesses taking action on air quality to deliver benefits not only for public health and the local environment, but for more efficient operation and lower costs for the businesses themselves.
‘The Mayor has been clear on his plans to tackle air quality and make Oxford Street safer, which involves removing traffic and he has made work on pedestrianisation plans with Westminster and Transport for London an absolute priority.
‘We are looking forward to working with businesses in the West End to help us improve air quality for all Londoners and we’re looking at a range of options with TfL including a wider reconfiguration of bus routes to further free up Oxford Street.’
Deputy Mayor for Transport
These initiatives will meet demand for more sustainable business practices and improvements to public spaces, allowing the West End to attract and retain more visitors.
Click here to find out more about the New West End Company’s clean air strategy.
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