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Countries worldwide are rethinking about their energy consumption habits and introducing greener and safer options for citizens amid the COVID-19 outbreak. After Milan and New York, London is the latest city that is planning to create one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. By Upasana Singh
In a joint statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the local transport authority has announced new measures for people to move around the United Kingdom’s capital. The plan is part of the Streetspace programme that is designed to ensure appropriate and safe social distancing on the city’s public transport network. Rather than using services like the bus or London Underground, people are being encouraged to walk and cycle in efforts to maintain the improved air quality as observed during the nationwide lockdown.
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Transport for London (TfL) will announce more details of the plan in the weeks to come, but the joint statement has revealed that roads between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holborn may soon be limited only to buses, pedestrians and, cyclists. Meanwhile, a temporary cycle lane on Park Lane, which runs alongside Hyde Park, has been introduced with speed limits set to 20 miles per hour. Such lanes are being developed in other parts of the city as well.
Next week onwards, fee schemes for drivers that aim to cut pollution and tackle the climate emergency will also be reintroduced. London’s Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone, and the Low Emission Zone will be reinstated to stop roads from becoming blocked with traffic.
Along with these plans, the Mayor mentioned that those who can continue to work from home should do so. He added that in the current times, people must use public transport only if it is absolutely necessary.
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As reported by The Guardian, apart from ensuring the safety of public transport in London as the city slowly lifts its lockdown restrictions, the Mayor said, “By ensuring our city’s recovery is green, we will also tackle our toxic air which is vital to make sure we don’t replace one public health crisis with another.”
Public health advocates and environmentalists support this amazing initiative which will play a major role in sustainable travel.