Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said he is “supportive” of the idea of car-free days in the capital. The news comes as Paris prepares to ban cars from 400 miles of streets on Sunday to mark World Car-Free Day.
World Car-Free Day takes place every year on or around September 22. Other cities taking part this year include Brussels, Bogotá, Jakarta and Copenhagen.
In the UK, Park Place in Cardiff was closed to traffic at 8pm on Wednesday, opening again at midnight on Thursday, while Lambeth will close Cornwall Road tomorrow (Saturday).
When Paris first had a car-free day last year, Airparif, which measures city pollution levels, said levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40 per cent in parts of the city, while there was almost one-third less nitrogen dioxide pollution on the Champs Elyées compared to a similar Sunday.
On that occasion, traffic was banned from around a third of the city’s roads. This year it will be half.
The Guardian reports that a YouGov poll last year found that a majority of Londoners would support a similar car ban in central London. 63 per cent of those questioned supported a day where cars were banned from the central third of the city with 24 per cent opposed. Furthermore, when asked whether they would be in favour of making such an event a monthly occurrence, 58 per cent said they were.
In 2014, Boris Johnson said he was “blown away” by the popularity of Jakarta’s car-free Sunday and said he would look into it, but nothing transpired.
A spokesperson for Khan has said: “The mayor is looking into a range of dynamic proposals on improving public spaces, including traffic-free days and plans for the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street. He is overseeing hard-hitting new measures to tackle London’s polluted air, and is supportive of events like car-free days that both lower toxic car fumes and encourage pedestrians to get out and enjoy their streets more.”