Call for Mayor to come clean on polluting bus route

Published: Wednesday 29th March 17

The council’s transport spokesman is calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to explain why polluting buses have not been withdrawn from service in the borough as promised, but simply switched to other local routes.

Earlier this month the Mayor announced that Putney High Street was to become the capital’s first “low emission bus zone”.  He said this would be achieved by removing older, more polluting buses from service.

On the day the Mayor said: “I have asked TfL to remove the oldest, dirtiest buses from our streets and this new route… will make a big difference to the pollution caused by our public transport system.”

But it has since emerged that instead of withdrawing these buses from service, they have simply been switched to other routes nearby.

Modern buses with cleaner Euro 6 diesel engines that had previously been used on the G1 route that runs from Streatham to Battersea via Tooting and Clapham Junction have now been moved to the 424 route which runs from Putney Heath to Fulham via Putney High Street.

And in their place the older single deckers with their more heavily polluting Euro 4 diesel engines that were being used on the 424 route, are now serving the G1 route.

Wandsworth Council’s environment spokesman Jonathan Cook said: “If highly polluting buses are being shifted to other routes to achieve a clean bus zone then the Mayor should be open and honest about it.

“He was quite clear in what he said. He was going to “remove the oldest and dirtiest buses from our streets” but instead they have just been switched to nearby neighbourhoods so they can belch out noxious fumes there instead.

“And just days after saying all dirty diesel vehicles should be banned from going anywhere near schools these obsolete and polluting buses have been diverted to run past lots more schools and nurseries.

“As a result of this change air quality will be made worse in Battersea, Tooting and Streatham. Simply spreading pollution around is no solution for London.”

The change means that many more bus movements each day are now being undertaken by the older buses.

On weekdays the 424 runs two buses an hour in each direction, equating to 52 bus movements a day. In contrast the G1 runs four buses an hour in each direction. In total it runs 128 buses each weekday.

Cllr Cook added: “Over the last few years Wandsworth Council has been in the forefront of efforts to tackle Putney’s pollution problem and has secured major investment from TfL in replacing the polluting buses which are a major contributor to this problems, so we do of course welcome steps that improve air quality in the high street.

“However we do not believe that relocating some heavily polluting buses to other areas in Wandsworth is any kind of solution.”

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Recent comments

Just another career politician who will say anything for a vote and turn up to the opening of an envelope. He's already shifted his focus onto the next job he's after. Can't believe people fell for this.

30 March 2017

Once again much hysteria about buses on Putney High Street. Why is it then that Putney High Street is so full of other vehicles? Per passenger mile, buses put out much less pollution than cars, vans, taxis, lorries and other low occupancy vehicles. When is WBC going to get tough on the cars, vans, taxis and lorries using Putney High Street instead of targeting the bus services. It is so easy to blame someone else (i.e. Sadiq Khan) but the problem is obvious and very close to home.

30 March 2017

I live on the Shaftesbury Estate and this bus stops frequently on this estate - it is a hop on hop off bus. There are two Primary schools on this estate and the drivers park' outside the back of one John Burns. Sadiq Khan was on the tv the other day saying how important it is to protect these small children. This bus is a nuisance anyway, running from 6am until 00.40am. What is the council going to do about it? I notice he hasn't put it in Tooting.
Barbara White

30 March 2017

I am shocked to read the above article about the polluting buses just being moved around and not being withdrawn. I suffer badly from the dreadful London Pollution and was hoping that something positive was going to be done but this goes to show that's it all talk and no action. Come on Mr Mayor - get your act together before we all lose faith in you.
Ellie Grayson

30 March 2017

Its an easy mistake for Sadiq Khan to make, as he has taken his eye off the ball (ie london) and thinks he is an international political heavyweight. no, you are just the mayor Sadiq

30 March 2017

Found Out - dear me- not very clever was it Sadiq. What a total disgrace. In fact - need to imagine you're on an 'away day' the route the G1 route appears to take. Trouble is Putney High Street is the main route off the A3 to The City - West Hill/Wandsworth One Way System - the way I thought drivers went for The City - is way too congested now. Putney High Street has way too many busses using it anyway - and whats more they are usually empty - even in rush hours.
Liz D

30 March 2017