Joint campaign for Putney green bus zone

Published: 31 January 2012

The Putney Society and Wandsworth Council have launched a new campaign to secure more low emission hybrid buses on routes through Putney High Street.

Both organisations have long been campaigning for cleaner buses on local routes and will now combine their efforts to put more pressure on Transport for London (TfL).

Residents can show their support for the campaign by signing up to a new online petition -

A two year air quality study by Wandsworth Council has identified high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on Putney High Street which frequently exceed EU limits and could be harmful to local residents' health.

The Putney Society recently mobilised volunteers to conduct a four-week survey of NO2 levels at 36 sites in central Putney - with similar findings of excessive NO2.

In October 2011 the council commissioned a further study by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to determine the level of nitrogen oxides pollution - which includes NO2 - caused by each type of vehicle using the road.

The TRL report shows that buses account for more than two thirds of the emissions of nitrogen oxides in Putney High Street , despite making up only ten per cent of vehicle flow.

The council and the Putney Society say the finding of this research project - the only one of its kind in London - together with evidence from air quality studies, must put Putney to the very top of the priority list when it comes to the introduction of cleaner, greener London buses.

TfL is currently deciding where to introduce its next batch of hybrid models when they are brought into service from October this year.

The transport authority has pledged to introduce some hybrid buses on three routes via Putney High Street. The campaigners say this is an encouraging start but many more will be needed to make a significant difference to emissions of nitrogen oxides and significantly improve local air quality.

Deputy Chairman of the Putney Society, Jonathan Callaway, said:

"Putney residents have been subjected to high air pollution levels on Putney's main roads for far too long. It is time for a change.

"The introduction of hybrid buses should be a top priority for Transport for London . Existing buses could also be retrofitted with clean air technology. We are also promoting increased walking and cycling as an alternative to vehicle transport."

Wandsworth's environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said:

"We have proved nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels on the high street are too high and we have proved the main source is the London bus. Together with the Putney Society we will do everything we can to ensure Transport for London acts on this evidence.

"We want every bus on routes through Putney High Street to be a low emission hybrid model by 2014. This is the single most important measure needed to bring down pollution and to protect our community's health.

"Alongside this campaign the council will continue to work hard to tackle the other sources of air pollution in Wandsworth and to help more local residents reduce their dependency on cars."

For more information on the council's air quality initiatives visit

For more information on the different ways the council is helping people reduce car use visit


Notes to editors

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) include nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These gases are emitted from vehicle exhausts.

Not all the NO2 is directly emitted from vehicle exhausts: a significant proportion of NO2 results from nitrogen oxides from vehicle exhausts being converted to NO2 in the air.

NO2 is the pollutant which is measured and assessed against health based air quality objectives.

The Transport Research Laboratory study involved analysing the types of vehicles using the high street through a combination of automatic number plate recognition cameras and video traffic counts.

The traffic survey data was used to determine the fleet composition and the NOx and particulate (PM) emissions of each vehicle type for each hour of the day.

The headline results from the study showed that buses contributed over two-thirds of emissions of nitrogen oxides in Putney High Street despite making up only ten percent of vehicle flow.

Transport for London is set to introduce 90 new hybrid buses across London in 2012. These buses pump out less particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide pollution and are quieter than conventional diesel models.

A further 900 London buses are set to be fitted with nitrogen dioxide reducing catalytic converters.