Can improved logistics on the Thames reduce emissions post Covid-19?
As the UK government sets out its plan this week for easing the lock down, Future Cities Forum has been looking at the issues around a possible rise in city pollution if drivers take to their cars in large numbers again. Research from the University of Cambridge has begun to find a link between pollution and the severity of infections from Covid-19.
Will there be a decline in the use of public transport because people feel safer from viral infection in their cars? Will pollution levels rise steadily if food drops from supermarkets become routinely higher than usual, with shoppers abandoning high streets and metro food outlets? Is it realistic to use navigable rivers such as the Thames in an increased transporting of goods, reducing lorry traffic and what of the emissions released by shipping on waterways?
The Mayor of London's office has released data to show how pollution from car emissions has dropped dramatically during restrictions. It has shown that levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by some of London's busiest roads are on average about half what they were before lock down. The new data has been published in response to the environment minister's call for evidence which will feed in to the Government's response to Covid-19.
The Mayor of London's office has stated that around half of London's air pollution comes from road transport and the evidence shows how our polluted air is so often caused by the way we choose to move around the city. Nearly half of car trips made by Londoners before the Coronavirus lock down could be cycled in around ten minutes, it observed.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: