Labour mayoral frontrunner Sadiq Khan announces plan to pedestrianise Oxford Street as part of clean air for all Londoners campaign.
Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan vowed to tackle London’s ‘dangerous’ air pollution problem as he unveiled ambitious plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street and turn the capital’s flagship shopping strip into a one and a half mile tree-lined walkway today (Tuesday).
The Tooting MP, who is one of the frontrunners to win the Labour nomination, is promising to lead a clean air revolution in the capital that would see all motor vehicles removed from Oxford Street and the space given over to pedestrians and cyclists.
Khan's plan for Oxford Street is the centre piece of a wider package to tackle air pollution in London that includes plans to extend London's Ultra Low Emmission Zone and the purchase of only electric buses from 2018.
Under the former shadow minister’s proposals, Transport for London would be tasked with devising a blueprint, in consultation with Westminster Council and business, to transform Oxford Street into the longest pedestrianised shopping area in Europe, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch.
Feedback and input would also be sought from cab drivers and TfL about traffic flow in the area as part of the consultation.
The ultimate goal, Khan said, was to create one of the world’s greatest public spaces and greenest shopping streets, which would serve as a pleasant, clean and liveable environment for Londoners and visitors alike.
Oxford Street is currently Europe’s busiest shopping street, but also the most polluted. Pollution in Oxford Street breached the EU’s annual legal limit for 2015 in just 4 days in January, a day earlier than last year.
Speaking about his vision for Oxford Street on Tuesday, Khan said: “It is one of our city’s iconic attractions – our most important shopping street, and one to which millions of Londoners and visitors flock each year.
“But as a Londoner, I’m ashamed that it’s also one of the most polluted roads in the world – where illegal and dangerous levels of air pollution are the norm.
“And I worry that unless things change, in future Oxford Street could lose out to competition from inside and outside the UK.
“It could be so much better – for Londoners, for tourists and for our economy. We have the opportunity to create one of the world’s best public spaces, and as mayor that is what I’d set out to do.
“It won’t be easy but it will be worthwhile. And that’s why I will make pedestrianising Oxford Street, and turning it into a tree lined shoppers paradise, a major project for TfL.”