London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) can be considered a roaring success. The ULEZ was created by London mayor Sadiq Khan to combat the health crisis created from too many cars being in a small geographic area (and to improve the ability of people to get around the city). The plan called for a section of London to be only accessible to vehicles which meet the criteria of an ultra low emission vehicle, like electric cars. The policy has reduced the total amount of vehicles in that part of London while also reducing toxic pollutants in the air. If London can do it then surely other cities can too!
Since introducing the ULEZ new data reveals that:
• Roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution has reduced by 36 per cent in the zone. This is measured from February 2017 to September 2019, to reflect when the Mayor publicly confirmed the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) – the predecessor to the ULEZ – and people started to prepare for the schemes. Analysis in today’s City Hall report estimates that the reduction in NO2 pollution solely attributable to the ULEZ is 29 per cent*.
• None of the air quality monitoring sites located on ULEZ boundary roads have measured an increase in NO2 pollution levels since the scheme was introduced in April 2019.
• From March to September 2019 there was a large reduction in the number of older, more polluting, non-compliant vehicles detected in the zone: some 13,500 fewer on an average day, a reduction of 38 per cent.
Back in 2003 London rolled out its congestion pricing to reduce traffic going into the city and provide more funding for transit solutions. The results have been predictable insofar that the air is cleaner, there are fewer cars downtown, and other transit solutions have become more prominent. It’s shocking that every city hasn’t copied London’s approach, and Vox recently took a look at the congestion plan to explore the concept.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a plan to bring congestion pricing to New York City. The goal is to raise money for the city’s crumbling public transit system and reclaim the dangerously busy city streets. But what is congestion pricing, and can it actually solve all our transit woes? We took a look at London, a city that enacted a congestion charge in 2003, to see some of the benefits. Check out the video above to learn more.
London’s tube system is literally heating up the city – and that’s a problem. A hundred years ago their subway stations were places to cool down during hot summer days and people had to wear sweaters while commuting. Today, this is no longer the case. The trains are heating the earth which in turn makes the entire tube too hot.
Cooling the tube is now a pressing issue and nifty ideas are being tried. New systems being tested tend to be green and benefit other parts of the city. Basically they are trying to transfer the heat to places that want it to save costs.
An experiment in Islington is trying that very thing using heat from the tube tunnels to warm up a municipal heating service provided to a housing estate. The advantage of this scheme is that it can remove heat in winter when it’s needed above ground. It may seem mildly annoying that surface users don’t want heat in summer when you’d think the tunnels are at their most oppressive, but in fact removing heat in winter helps during the summer.
If the clay surrounding the tunnel can be cooled in winter, it has more capacity to absorb heat in the summer.
As it happens, at this particular trial, the fans can also be reversed so that during the summer months, they can suck cool night time air down into the tunnels as well.
‘Protesting it pointless’ is a refrain heard around the world by people who disavow public displays of disaffection. For the most part the idea of protesting being useless comes from the people in power who don’t want to be protested (or even questioned). This is evident when it comes to the thin-skinned president of the United States. President Trump has cancelled his trip to London because he’s worried that people will protest his presence.
He has apparently, in a recent telephone call to the prime minister, declared that he does not want to come if there are to be large-scale protests. The visit, we are told, is on hold.
Some may be surprised by this. From the violence and menace that became features of his ugly campaign, it was easy to assume that he liked a bit of edge at his public appearances. But on those occasions, he knew he would always have the support of far-right thugs and hangers-on who could drown out dissent and, if need be, throw a few punches at protesters, passers-by, anyone who would dare to question him. That intimidation, unprecedented in recent history, would have been more difficult to replicate here; he could hardly bring his street fighters with him. There are only so many seats on Air Force One.
Maybe he didn’t fancy the trip without Theresa there to hold his hand; to keep him strong and stable, as it were. Even he might blanch – all the way from Tango orange to the whitest white – at the idea of skipping through the Downing Street rose garden hand in hand with Phil the spreadsheet Hammond or Boris Johnson.
Zero Carbon Food is a new company that has started a farm in downtown London. If that doesn’t sound strange enough, the farm is a in a bomb shelter.
The company is using hydroponics and other modern technological approaches to food harvesting in order to make food even more local for Londoners. Has shipping costs and the time it takes to transport food increases there will be growing demand for urban farms.
Hopefully we’ll see even more hydroponic farms in dense urban centres soon!
The subterranean farm is optimized for growing crops like pea shoots, coriander, mustard leaf, rocket, radish and garlic chive: small, leafy greens with a short growth cycle – made even shorter through careful manipulation of the environment. Unlike outdoor fields at the mercy of variable weather, Zero Carbon Food can deliver a consistent product all year round. (A consistency that attracted at least one inquiry from an entrepreneurial druglord seeking a discreet cannabis farm).
The plants are picked and packed by hand in another part of the tunnel before distribution to restaurants, caterers and retailers under the brand Growing Underground. It’s already partnered with hyper-local food delivery company Farmdrop and is in discussions with supermarket Whole Foods.