3 years ago the Zero Emissions Network was set up for businesses in the City Fringe. This project recognised that air pollution was a cross boundary issue and brought together Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets councils in developing a free to join network that offers bespoke advice and solutions to help businesses reduce their detrimental impact on air quality. As well as offering expert bespoke advice the project offers a number of solutions that range from helping businesses switch their petrol/diesel cars to either electric cars, electric bicycles or cargo bikes, to helping businesses install shower/change facilities meaning staff can cycle in from further afield. By helping businesses get ahead now, the ZEN prepares businesses for the more wholesale changes proposed by the Mayor (e.g. Ultra Low Emissions Zone) and also create support for more radical changes across the area.
Over this period the project has recruited nearly 1,000 businesses, delivering over 400 measures to improve air quality and has won multiple awards. It was due to this success that Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets again decided to partner on a bid to develop this area as a new ‘Low Emissions Neighbourhood’ (LEN). Having already garnered the support of a large number of businesses these boroughs wanted the surrounding area to match the aspirations of these businesses, formalising this as a LEN. The bid was successful and we are now in the process of developing the City Fringe LEN. This means prioritising walking, cycling and the use of electric vehicles through the creation of new walking and cycling routes, new public spaces, innovative electric vehicle charging and smart parking. The LEN aims to be a pioneering blueprint of how cities of the future should be designed and a test-bed of new solutions that, if successful, can be rolled out city, nation and worldwide.