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Mayor confirms Car Free Day celebrations will return to London this year
- London to celebrate World Car Free Day 2020 on Sunday 20 September
- Full events programme to be unveiled in the summer
- Last year’s record-breaking event saw thousands of Londoners ‘reclaim’ their city
- Initiative is part of the Mayor’s plan to encourage Londoners to cycle, walk and use public transport to help improve air pollution and reduce car emissions
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that a central London Car Free Day event will return on Sunday 20 September as part of his bold plans to tackle London’s toxic air.
The announcement follows London’s biggest ever Car Free Day celebrations last year, with the capital’s first Car Free Day event giving thousands of Londoners and visitors the opportunity to ‘reclaim’ their streets and reimagine their city car-free. Sixty-five per cent of Londoners surveyed after last year’s Car Free Day say the events inspired them to use the car less – helping encourage the change in behaviour needed to meet the Mayor’s ambitious target of 80 per cent of all journeys to be taken by sustainable modes of transport by 2041, compared to 63 per cent today.
In 2019 activities were held across more than 27km of closed streets in central London including Tower Bridge (closed to all traffic), London Bridge (buses only) and much of the City of London. This year’s event will take place across the same footprint, with TfL working in partnership with City of London for the second consecutive year. TfL will also collaborate with Open House London, the world’s largest architecture festival, to once again give free public access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours over the weekend.
Local events took place across 27 boroughs in 2019, with 385 Play Streets – almost double the target of 200. TfL and the Mayor will work with borough councils to announce a full programme of events across the capital in the summer, working with accessibility groups and other key stakeholders to ensure events are accessible, inclusive and fun.
Air pollution is one of the biggest health emergencies of our generation, with more than two million Londoners living in areas that exceed legal limits for NO2, including more than 400,000 children under the age of 18.
The Mayor has taken bold action to tackle London’s toxic air, from delivering the first Ultra Low Emission Zone in Central London to transforming London’s bus fleets into one of the greenest in the world. Sadiq wants to encourage Londoners to walk, cycle, and use public transport and opt for electric vehicles for essential car trips to help reduce harmful emissions from older, more polluting vehicles.
City Hall analysis of the Breathe London air quality sensor at Bank Junction found concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were 40 per cent lower on Car Free Day than the day before, and a temporary monitor installed by King’s College at Regent Street to measure the impact of its closure found nitrogen dioxide concentrations were 60 per cent lower on Car Free Day compared to the day before.
Last year’s event broke records for Santander Cycles, which were an integral part of the event, with a variety of activations and offers to encourage a legacy of cycling. A free promotional code giving people across London free cycle hire for 24 hours resulted in a record 1,373 redemptions – the highest of any day code in the history of TfL’s Cycle Hire scheme.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Toxic air is a public health crisis and it is a scandal that thousands of Londoners are dying early every year as a result of exposure to air pollution. I am proud that in London we are taking some of the boldest steps of any city in the world to tackle harmful car emissions – from introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has already reduced harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution by almost a third in the central London zone, to transforming our bus fleets into one of the greenest in the world. Last year’s Car Free Day was London’s biggest yet, enabling thousands of Londoners to explore the capital by bike or on foot and encouraging them to reduce their car use. I’m am determined to make this year’s event even bigger and better and I look forward to revealing more plans in the summer.”