Decision Maker Response

Boris Johnson’s response

May 27, 2015 — Dear Petitioner,

Thank you for the petition submitted on the Change.org website calling for Transport for London (TfL) to use cleaner buses on all the bus routes that run through Brixton Road and Streatham High Road.

Improving air quality is a priority for the Mayor and, amongst many other measures, he has committed to almost halving oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from the TfL bus fleet by 2016/17 (compared to 2008/09) to improve health and wellbeing.

TfL has rapidly introduced the new Euro VI engine from the earliest time it has become available as part of this strategy. The new engine and exhaust after-treatment system reduces NOx by up to 95 per cent compared to an un-retrofitted Euro III engine. There are now 500 in the fleet – including new vehicles just introduced to route 109 which passes through Brixton and Streatham – and the total will climb quickly in two stages.

The first stage, which is nearing completion, is to lift the entire bus fleet up to the Euro IV emission standard or better by 2015. This involves retrofitting 1,800 Euro III buses with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment and replacing the rest with new Euro VI engine buses.

More than 1,300 buses are now retrofitted. Brixton is already benefitting from lower bus emissions from vehicles retrofitted with SCR, such as those operating on bus route 355, and the replacement of older buses with hybrid Euro VI vehicles, such as those on route 415. By the end of 2015, the continuation of this approach will help reduce tailpipe emissions by almost a third. Streatham High Road is also benefiting from similar upgrades to Euro III vehicles on a number of bus routes including routes 255, 319 and 333. This is expected to bring about an overall NOx reduction in bus tailpipe emissions of around 50 per cent by the end of the year.

The second stage involves the Mayor’s proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in 2020 which will spur the take-up of zero and low-emission vehicles. When this proposed scheme is implemented, all double deck buses in central London will need to be electric-hybrid and single-deck vehicles will need to be zero tailpipe emission. Due to the nature of London bus routes, many of these electric hybrid and zero-emission buses will also pass through Brixton and Streatham.

It is forecast that the rapid introduction of hybrid vehicles, combined with the ultra-low-emission Euro VI engine, will reduce tailpipe NOx from buses serving both areas by around three quarters by 2020 – compared to 2014 levels – with some of the newer vehicles emitting up to four times less NOx than the vehicles they replace. This reflects TfL and my shared ambition to move ever closer to a zero-emission bus fleet.

In addition the Mayor’s team is working closely with the London Borough of Lambeth to identify further opportunities for reducing emissions and tackling air pollution in Brixton Town Centre and along Streatham High Road. The Mayor has made £20m in funding available to local authorities through his Air Quality Fund to cover the cost of these local measures to tackle air quality hotspots.

I hope this reassures you that there are clear plans in place to reduce the air quality impact of London’s buses and deliver wider improvements to air quality in Brixton and Streatham.

Yours sincerely

Public Liaison Unit
Greater London Authority