Cleaner buses to hit Putney High Street

Published: Thursday 27th September 12

Next month (October) Transport for London (TfL) will start to replace the older, higher polluting diesel buses which run via Putney with cleaner models in a bid to reduce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions.

A Wandsworth Council air quality investigation has revealed that London buses are directly responsible for more than two thirds of the high street's NO2 pollution which frequently exceeds EU limits. In response TfL has accelerated upgrades to Putney's fleet.

Currently, there are 177 diesel buses using the high street which fall below the 'Euro 4' emissions standard.  

From October TfL will begin to replace 46 of these with new, cleaner models including ten low emission hybrids.

A further 85 of the older diesel buses will be retrofitted with advanced catalytic converters which significantly reduce pollution outputs.  The upgrade programme begins in November this year and will be completed by March 2013.

The remaining buses with sub Euro 4 emission standards will be upgraded by the end of March 2014, meaning every old diesel bus using the high street will have been replaced or its emissions reduced. 

The council's air quality study has confirmed that the high street suffers from high levels of NO2 but fine particles (PM10) levels are within acceptable EU limits.  NO2 readings elsewhere in Putney are significantly lower. 

By far the greatest source of NO2 is vehicle exhaust emissions. As the main road leading to one of London 's busiest river crossing, high volumes of traffic pass through the high street throughout the day.

Deputy council leader and executive member for the environment Cllr Jonathan Cook said:

"Buses are by far the greatest source of pollution on Putney High Street and these upgrades can't come soon enough.

"The council's air quality investigation is the only one of its kind in London and has pushed Putney right to the front of the queue for green bus funding. We built our case on solid scientific evidence and the result has been TfL prioritising investment in the local fleet.

"But we won't stop here. Improving the buses will not solve the problem alone and we are working across several fronts. These include a new engagement programme with businesses based on the high street to help them reduce the emissions and traffic congestion caused by their deliveries.

"We have also secured an expansion of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme to Putney which is part of our efforts to help local people reduce car use. We're also pushing South West Trains to increase capacity on routes between Putney and central London through bringing longer trains into service."

Find out more about the council's air quality initiatives at 

Find out more about the council's transport improvement work at 



Notes to Editors

Wandsworth Council has a broad programme of air quality initiatives - most of which are coordinated by a dedicated team in the environmental services department.

Much of their work is focussed on reducing vehicle emissions which are the primary cause of air pollution in London .

The team is also responsible for monitoring the levels of airborne contaminants across Wandsworth and use the data to lobby the transport authorities for greener infrastructure and more funding to progress local air improvement schemes.

Examples of the council initiatives include:

  • A rolling programme of environmental theatre production in local schools to teach children how their travel choices affect air quality.
  • Developing school travel plans which reduce the number of cars used on the school run. 98 local schools now have approved travel plans which include initiatives like 'walking buses' and car pools to cut down on vehicle use.
  • Free vehicle emission checks in public places like supermarket car parks. The popular programme offers residents the chance to check if their car will pass its next MOT and raise awareness about harmful vehicle emissions.
  • Since 2007 the council has championed car clubs which dramatically reduce total vehicle use and take older, more pollution cars off the road. We are currently increasing the number of on-street car club vehicles in Wandsworth five fold and have one of the highest car club memberships in London .
  • Free bike safely lessons are provided for children and adults to give more residents the confidence and skills they need to start cycling.
  • 'Dr Bike' cycle surgeries are held around the borough to promote cycling and teach residents basic maintenance skills.
  • Electric vehicle charging points have been installed in key locations which enable residents to switch over to low emission electric vehicles.
  • A free airTEXT messaging service warns residents when high pollution levels are forecast.
  • The council promotes walking through public health campaign and smarter travel awareness schemes.
  • A series of investment schemes are making the borough's town centres more pedestrian friendly including projects in Clapham Junction, Southfields, Putney and Earlsfield.
  • The council is continuing to lobby for overcrowding relief on local trains and tubes. Higher capacity on these services will help encourage more residents to stop using their cars to get to work - reducing vehicle emissions.
  • The council's Smarter Driving campaign is raising awareness about vehicle pollution and encourages drivers to take simple steps to reduce their emissions like inflating tires.
  • The council's promotes and reward good environmental practice through the Green Champion scheme. This award scheme targets residents and businesses which have contributed to improving air quality.

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Thank you, that's really a good new.
Angelica Battaglia

29 September 2012