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UK’s first zero-emission street announced

Words: Laura Edgar
Beech Street, City of London / Chris McKenna

The City of London Corporation has approved plans to make Beech Street the UK’s first zero-emission street as it looks to improve air quality in the Square Mile.

Beech Street, part of which runs under the Barbican Estate, would be restricted to zero-emission vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians by spring 2020. This is subject to final approval by Transport for London (TfL).

Zero-emission vehicles would need to comply with TfL’s criteria for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount for the Congestion Charge:

  • Maximum 75 g CO2/km;
  • Minimum 20-mile zero-emission range; and
  • Euro 6 equivalent NOx emission standard.

The City of London Corporation explained that there would be several exceptions: emergency vehicles, access to the car parks off Beech Street and refuse collection and deliveries. The fully electric 153 bus route that runs down Beech Street is unaffected by the changes.

The experiment, which aims to bring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels within air quality guidelines set out by the European Union and World Health Organisation, will run for a maximum of 18 months while the impact is monitored. If deemed successful, the trial may be made permanent.

Streets and walkways sub (planning and transportation) committee chairman Oliver Sells QC said the scheme would bring “substantial” health benefits to those who live and work in the Barbican area, and would also help to reduce noise pollution.

“The experimental scheme will be enforced using the latest in smart camera technology and I hope it will be the first of many other schemes like this.”

In line with its Transport Strategy and Air Quality Strategy, the city corporation is encouraging the uptake of fully electric and compliant hybrid vehicles.

Image credit | Chris McKenna