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How businesses can help to improve London's environment

How businesses can help to improve London's environment

How businesses can help to improve London's environment

London's air quality and environmental conditions are issues that have been attracting a lot of attention recently.

There have been significant changes introduced and initiatives launched by the government and the mayor's office, but it's important that the business community is also aware of its role in making the city a healthier place to live and work.

Tackling pollution
Various projects are underway to address the problem of air pollution in London. Considering the contribution that vehicles and transport make to this issue, it's vital that businesses are aware of it.

It was recently announced that London and the Indian city of Bengaluru had agreed to lead a partnership of up to 20 other global cities to tackle air pollution.

One of the UK capital's functions within this project will be to trial a new £750,000 cutting-edge air quality monitoring system to analyse pollution in up to 1,000 "toxic hot spots" around the city. Some of these locations are close to schools, hospitals, construction sites and busy roads.

The pilot scheme could also feature mobile monitoring devices, providing the capability to collect data in hundreds of thousands of locations across London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan recently referred to data from the World Health Organization which showed that all Londoners live in areas exceeding legal air pollution limits.

He said: "I'm doing everything in my power to clean up London's lethal air, from introducing the world's first toxicity charge for older, more polluting cars and bringing forward the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), to cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet.

"I'm pleased my ambitious work will soon be boosted by new state-of-the-art air quality sensor monitoring technology that will help deliver the most comprehensive data on toxic pollution ever."

The recently announced ULEZ will come into operation in central London on April 8th 2019 and will instigate a number of changes businesses should be aware of.

Most notably, there will be a £12.50-a-day ULEZ charge for cars, vans and motorbikes, and a £100-a-day fee for lorries, buses and coaches. These sums will be in addition to the existing congestion charge.

What can businesses do?
These initiatives show that it makes not just environmental, but financial sense for businesses to be moving away from polluting road transport, particularly in the centre of London.

Employers should be telling their staff members that, unless it is absolutely essential to drive, they should be walking, cycling or using public transport to get to work.

When it comes to commercial transportation, companies operating in the heart of the city can shield themselves from the recently launched toxicity charge by using newer, more eco-friendly vehicles.

The introduction of the T-charge in October 2017 means users of older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles now have to pay a daily amount of up to £21.50 to drive in central London. That is in addition to the congestion charge of £11.50 per day.

Businesses can also benefit - financially, and in terms of their reputation - by taking a greener approach to their operations in general.

Making greater use of renewable energy and working with eco-friendly service partners can help to limit a company's impact on the environment and also reduce its energy costs.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image Courtesy of iStock/AmandaLewis