Camden wins over £1 million to help reduce air pollution

Camden Council has successfully bid to the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund to implement ambitious plans to lower air pollution across the borough.

The council has secured £500,000 to create a new Low Emission Neighbourhood in Camden Town. It has also been awarded funding to develop a Cargo Bike Network, to move deliveries out of vans to bikes, and a further half a million pounds to tackle engine idling, working with the neighbouring City of London.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden
"In Camden we radically raised the level of our ambition on cleaning up our air by targeting stretching World Health Organization guidelines for air quality in Camden by 2030. So we are extremely pleased to have won £1 million from City Hall to help us in this endeavour.

“The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund will help us encourage deliveries by cargo bikes rather than congesting vehicles, drive down engine idling, and reduce emissions from construction machinery.

“I am particularly excited at the prospect of making Camden Town a Low Emission Neighbourhood, including trialling giving sections of the High Street over to pedestrians to enjoy, free from motorised traffic."
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

Camden High Street’s vibrant mix of markets, cosmopolitan independent retailers and world-famous music venues attract an estimated 40 million visitors each year. The area, however, experiences high levels of traffic with busy pavements and a limited existing cycling infrastructure, meaning that visitors, residents and businesses are exposed to high levels of pollution.

Camden’s LEN will deliver a variety of measures that improves our environment for everyone through a combination of road closures, a reduction in transport and building emissions which will lower pollution levels for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst also reducing traffic casualties and providing more efficient use of the road space. This will also benefit the local economy and provide an overall improvement to the local air quality. Camden Town Business Improvement District supported the Low Emission Neighbourhood bid.

The council also wants to encourage the use of cycle freight and cargo bikes in the borough in order to address issues such as poor air quality, and traffic congestion. Providing freight audits and cargo bikes will provide an important role in offering a sustainable alternative to vans, cars and private hire vehicles for transport and freight needs.

The work of the Pan London Idling Action Project in partnership with the City of London Corporation, will see the council address air pollution, a London-wide issue, through partnership working with 27 other participating London boroughs to combat engine idling through a combination of education and enforcement.


Scheduled over three years, the council will implement a range of measures to create a LEN, with work scheduled to start this financial year. These include:

  • A trial closure, in the first two years of the project, of Camden High Street to all motor vehicles from Camden Town underground station to Hawley Crescent. This will be implemented during the festive and summer periods as well as National Clean Air Day and National Car Free Day, creating a temporary new pedestrianised area, which will offer a more pleasant and safer environment.
  • Improve and upgrade the walking and cycling connections into and through the LEN.
  • Install a network of Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) across the LEN, whilst also reducing vehicle emissions around residential roads by delivering anti-idling measures.
  • Support local businesses to reduce emissions from freight deliveries, waste collections, whilst reducing overall emissions from the market’s activities.
  • Implement a series of ‘Healthy School Streets’ and ‘Play Streets’ in the area, whilst reviewing a range of parking approaches that will reduce traffic levels.
  • Target building emissions by using our environmental business network, the Camden Climate Change Alliance and work with Camden Town Unlimited.

The Camden Cargo Bike Network project (£100,000 awarded) will include:

  • Free freight audits for businesses
  • The loan of a cargo bike for an agreed period
  • Free cycle skills training so businesses can learn how to ride competently the cargo bike that is loaned to them
  • Monitoring of the environmental and business benefits accrued by each organisation and for the whole project.

The Pan London Engine Idling Action Project will involve 27 boroughs and will build on the previous Mayor Air Quality Fund project.

The project will continue idling action volunteer events to engage with the local community and in addition will include training for transport fleets, both council and commercial. The project will also work with schools, through assemblies and workshops to create anti idling banners, whilst also developing and implementing a wider communications and advertising strategy to raise awareness, along with a research project investigating the impacts of idling and behaviour change.

The attached image shows a visualisation of how a pedestrianised section of Camden High Street could look