Low-emission bus zones and real-time air quality updates are two ways London is cleaning up the capital’s dangerous air quality.

Information and awareness campaigns can go a long way towards changing people’s behaviors. London is rolling out real-time updates at bus stops and via road-side messages and digital alerts to inform citizens about poor air quality. When high and very high air pollution is forecast, 2,500 bus stops will display warnings about air quality, and alerts will be sent to app users as well as to the 700,000 followers of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Twitter account.

London also created low-emission bus zones to prioritize the use of the cleanest, greenest buses where they are needed most. Measurements were carried out to identify the areas of highest exposure to dangerous nitrogen dioxide, and only top-of-the-range Euro VI buses or hybrid-electric buses can use the lanes. The first of these zones was completed in January 2017 and 11 more will be completed before 2020.

30% reduction in CO2 tailpipe emissions in central London by 2020

The challenge

London faces dangerous air pollution levels, despite being one of the first cities to introduce maximum air pollution levels following The Great Smog of 1952.


Economic The total economic burden associated with London’s poor air quality is valued at around $4.8 billion. Improving air quality is expected to benefit high-street businesses as well as increase property values.

Environmental London aims to achieve a 70% reduction in bus NOx emissions via low-emission bus zones and changing transport habits with the air quality alerts, which will also help to tackle carbon emissions.

Social The low-emission bus zones have taken into account the proximity of schools to reduce children’s exposure to pollution.

Health Long-term exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause more than 9,000 premature deaths every year in London. Low-emission bus zones and information updates are two ways in which the capital is trying to slash this figure.

About London

London is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. London is a leading global city and is crowned as the world’s largest financial centre and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world. London is a world cultural capital and is the world’s most-visited city as measured by international arrivals. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. London contains four World Heritage Sites and The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.

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