Organisations back calls for the introduction of a car free day in London

More than 50 campaigners are calling upon London Mayor Sadiq Khan to establish a car-free day in London.

The car free day 2018 campaign is an annual global awareness encouraging citizens to walk, cycle or use public transport for one day.

Friends of the Earth of Kings College London, Campaign for Better Transport, as well as Zaha Hadid Architects, are all endorsing the campaign.

Caroline Russell, Green Party member of the London Assembly said: “No one should be left out of having streets that are safe and pleasant to use – a car-free day would give Londoners the space to breathe.

“Paris has a monthly car-free day so it is possible for big cities to do this. I want Londoners to have a taste of fresher air and to see that streets can be for people, not just vehicles.

“It would be great to see London open for walking and cycling to give people the freedom to choose how they want to travel without being intimidated by hostile streets.”

While individual boroughs including Hackney, Lambeth, Islington, and Greenwich have hosted localised car-free day events in the past, it has never been a city-wide initiative as in other global cities.

The open letter to the mayor states that car free day 2018 is a tremendous opportunity to catalyse long-term reductions in air pollution and improve London’s transport system.

Campaigners have asked that the mayor hold the day every year in September.

Vancouver, Paris, Brussels have annual car-free days whilst Jakarta in Indonesia, a city of over 10 million, has a weekly car free day.

Co-founder of the Tower Hamlets clean air campaign, On Air Our Health, Helena O’Rourke-Potocki  said: “I grew up in Brussels where there has been an annual car free day for many years.

“The day is a pleasant opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, re-discover the city from a different perspective and get some exercise. There is something liberating and empowering about pedestrians and cyclists reclaiming the streets.”

Sadiq Khan is to respond to the campaign open letter in 19 working days to give his decision.

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