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The council’s transport spokesman is calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to explain why polluting buses have not been withdrawn from service in the borough as promised, but simply switched to other local routes.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