Next step for Putney bus improvements

Published: 23 January 2013

Transport for London (TfL) has now begun to install innovative pollution reducing equipment on 94 double decker buses which travel through Putney High Street.

A unique air quality investigation by Wandsworth Council has revealed that London buses are a major contributor to traffic pollution on the high street which frequently exceeds EU limits.

In response to the study TfL has accelerated upgrades to Putney's bus fleet. So far 45 new buses (including ten hybrids) have replaced older, higher polluting models on routes 74 and 220.  

The next stage of the programme will see 94 buses fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment which can reduce harmful NOx emissions by up to 88 per cent. 

Deputy leader of Wandsworth Council Jonathan Cook said:

"We are pleased the Mayor is pressing ahead with the bus upgrade programme which is a key to improving air quality of this busy road. We will be monitoring the impacts on NOx levels very closely in the months ahead.

"The council first installed an air quality monitoring station on the high street in 2009 to expose the full extend of this problem and a broad programme of work is now underway to tackle it.

"This includes engagement with local businesses to prevent goods deliveries from causing traffic hold ups and expanding the cycle hire zone into Putney to give people an alternative to using their cars.

"We've also installed new electric vehicle charging points to promote the growth of this zero emission transport option and will continue to promote car sharing schemes which help to reduce traffic levels.

"We've also planted new trees along the high street and introduced a new smoke control order to better regulate emissions from homes and business premises."

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.
  • 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 campaigns 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, Tooting 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 correctly inflating tyres.