London to close 12 miles of roads on biggest car-free day to date

·Contributor
Drivers in a London traffic jam (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Drivers in a London traffic jam (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 12 miles of London’s roads will be closed during the capital’s biggest car-free day to date.

Roads will be closed for the event around London Bridge, Tower Bridge and much of the City of London on September 22.

The event is meant to tackle London’s air pollution crisis.

It is the first time a London mayor has closed down large sections of roads in the city centre.

A map of the closed streets released by the Mayor’s office on Thursday, showed that roads around St Paul’s, Monument and Bank will also be closed in September.

Traffic jam line of red London buses on Waterloo Bridge (Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Traffic jam line of red London buses on Waterloo Bridge (Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Boroughs across the city will also hold events promoting walking, cycling and public transport. There will also be “Play Streets” opened on the day for children.

It is hoped that 150,000 Londoners will take part.

It is estimated that London’s air pollution kills thousands of people each year and leaves two million – including 400,000 children – living in areas with illegally dirty air.

A map of the proposed road closures (TfL)
A map of the proposed road closures (TfL)

“I encourage as many Londoners as possible to join in the fun and see the city from a different perspective,” said London mayor, Sadiq Khan.

“This will be a great opportunity for us all to leave our cars behind and explore our streets by foot, or by bike.”

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The move has been backed by green groups including Greenpeace, who called the planned road closures “exciting”.

Similar annual closures have taken place in other cities around the world, including Paris.

The move is part of the global World Car Free Day.

Last year, MPs described air pollution as a national emergency crisis.

It is estimated that 9,000 people each year die in the capital because of air pollution.

Half of the toxic air in the capital is caused by traffic.

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