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Traditional cars to be banned from parking in parts of Shoreditch to cut air pollution

PUBLISHED: 18:01 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 26 May 2017

'Pedestrian zone' signs shown in computer-generated images of Paul Street, Shoreditch. Picture: Transport for London

'Pedestrian zone' signs shown in computer-generated images of Paul Street, Shoreditch. Picture: Transport for London

Archant

Traditional cars will be banned from parking and loading in a number roads around Old Street in the hope of cleaning up Shoreditch’s filthy air.

Electric cars shown charging in Paul Street, Shoreditch, in a computer generated image. Picture: Transport for London Electric cars shown charging in Paul Street, Shoreditch, in a computer generated image. Picture: Transport for London

Islington Council has won a share of £1.2million from London transport chiefs for an “electric streets” scheme, which will see parking and loading bays closed off to petrol and diesel vehicles, and more charging points for electric vehicles put in.

It has not yet been decided which streets should be involved, but there will be six in the area – one in Islington, four in Hackney and one in Tower Hamlets. The project is not expected to kick off until 2018.

The cross-boundary scheme has been catchily named the City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood.

Computer-generated images submitted by Hackney Council as part of the bid process show Paul Street, part of which is in Islington, closed to all but ultra-low emission vehicles. That refers to cars and vans that have the capacity to drive entirely on battery charge for a set number of miles – which varies depending on the size and type of the vehicle.

Cautious welcome: London Assembly member Caroline Russell. Picture: Polly Hancock Cautious welcome: London Assembly member Caroline Russell. Picture: Polly Hancock

Although it has not been decided which streets will be part of the City Fringe Low Emissions Neighbourhood, the pictures may give a hint as to the kinds of conditions likely to be imposed on drivers, and the areas being considered.

Islington’s transport Cllr Claudia Webbe said: “Air quality in Islington is a huge issue, and we’re proud to be part of pioneering this initiative to improve the air we all share.

“‘Electric streets’ are an innovative idea to encourage the use of electric vehicles, which produce zero emissions. We’re delighted with this funding and will work closely with residents, communities and the neighbouring boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets to create our first ‘electric street’.”

Shoreditch is one of six “Neighbourhoods of the Future” that has been awarded green cash. Neighbourhoods of the Future is part of a £13m government investment in encouraging Londoners to switch to electric vehicles.

"It’s all very well investing in electric vehicles, but it has to be part of an overall package of measures which at its heart has reducing traffic"

London Assembly member Caroline Russell

City Hall’s deputy mayor for environment and energy Shirley Rodrigues said: “Tackling London’s poor air quality is a public health emergency that requires bold action at all levels of government.

“These six innovative schemes will play a direct role cleaning the up toxic air in neighbourhoods across London, and could lead the way for similar schemes across the UK.”

Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, who is also Islington’s sole opposition councillor, cautiously welcomed the announcement.

“It’s all very well investing in electric vehicles,” she told the Gazette, “but it has to be part of an overall package of measures which at its heart has reducing traffic.

“If we just swap all current cars to electric we will end up with just as much congestion and we’ll still have problems moving people around the city.”

She added the scheme needed to go “hand in hand” with ensuring walking, cycling and public transport were London’s transport methods of choice.

What do you think? Email gazette.letters@archant.co.uk

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