Dear Sadiq Khan, Mayor for London and Mike Brown, Commissioner, Transport for London (TfL),
We, the undersigned request that free, easily accessible and well promoted water bottle re-fill stations are installed across the TfL public transport network, including all TfL operated tube, train, Thames Clipper, bus and tram stations.
Free water bottle re-fill stations would have multiple benefits to London, including:
- Promote healthier lifestyles by allowing passengers access to free drinking water, supporting existing summer overheating campaigns.
- Save Londoners money that may otherwise be spent purchasing bottled water.
- Normalise the culture of re-use and refilling of water bottles, reducing the proliferation of single-use plastic bottled water and associated pollution.
Single use plastic is wasteful, environmentally damaging and a growing problem - in particular, concerning London:
- London consumes the greatest amount of plastic bottled water per capita compared to any other English region and London also has the worst recycling rates in the UK (London Assembly Environment Committee Report, April 2017).
- 10% of all waste found in the Thames is plastic drink bottles and lids (Thames 21, 2017).
- Tonnes of avoidable plastic waste is produced on a daily basis that needs to cleaned up, collected and disposed off, costing TfL and London Boroughs significant amounts of money.
- Improving access to tap water across the TfL network is a key recommendation of the London Assembly Environment Committee report (April 2017), and a recommendation of the Keep Britain Tidy and Center for Social Innovation Research Report (April 2017) is to ‘Work with transport providers and hubs to improve access to free drinking water for the public when travelling’.
- 65% of UK adults would not buy bottled water if tap water were freely available (Centre for Social innovation and Keep Britain Tidy, 2017)
We recognise that installation and maintenance of water bottle re-fill stations would come with a cost however we believe the potential money saving (for TfL, London Boroughs and Londoners) as well as the environmental and social benefits would make this a smart use of TfL resources.
We look forward to hearing your response to this request and seeing water bottle re-fill stations appearing across the TfL network soon.
As noted in the Draft London Environment Strategy (August 2017 - currently out for consultation until 17th November 2017) ‘Plastic packaging not only litters London streets, but often finds its way into waterways and oceans, releasing toxic chemicals before breaking down – a process that can take centuries. London needs to reduce, reuse and recycle more… and to reduce London’s increasing waste bill as the city grows.’
This petition should also be considered as part of the response to the consultation to the strategy, showing the level of public support for refill stations to cut single use plastic use in London - specifically proposal 7.1.1b ‘The Mayor will support campaigns and initiatives to cut the use of single use packaging, including working with the GLA group to reduce plastic bottle sales and improve access to tap water on all our premises.’
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