Air Quality Initiatives

Improving Air Quality Together

What the problem is

Like most parts of central London, Westminster suffers from poor air quality, and consequently the Northbank does too. Improving local air quality is vital to ensuring the whole of our community has a healthy and vibrant place to live, work and visit.

Working with local businesses we have been undertaking a series of activities: re-planning deliveries and services into buildings; awareness-raising campaigns; promoting walking and cycling cleaner air route and more. But we need you help to increase the overall impact.

Poor air quality in The Northbank BID area is complex but broadly the result of emissions from:

  • Road traffic: (taxis, buses, deliveries and servicing vans)
  • Buildings (gas from boilers)

The Pollutants of most concern are particulate matter (often referred to as ‘PM’) and Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2).


Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health, here are just a few statistics to provide some background on the threat we’re trying to mitigate here in the Northbank:

  • Over 9,500 deaths in London in 2010 were attributable to poor air quality
  • Air Quality in the Northbank does not meet health-based targets for NO2
  • The health cost impact of poor air quality in the UK has been estimated to be round £15 billion

Free Trial for Cargo Bike for Northbank, WC2R

As part of Cross River Partnership’s Defra-funded Clean Air Villages 3 programme, we are offering FREE hours of an eco fleet bike and rider for deliveries and collections as a trial to encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles in central London. Deliveries of goods and services significantly contribute to local air pollution and by choosing this zero-emission service, organisations can help improve air quality for staff and customers, whilst reducing costs at the same time. Find out more here

The Northbank BID Cycling Map

Northbank has been working with the active travel charity Sustrans to create a brand new cycling map for the area. Designed to help inspire both seasoned and new riders to explore central London using pedal power.

The map shows how long it takes to cycle or walk into the Northbank area from several tourist attractions across the city as well as some of the main commuter hubs. It also showcases cycle parking in the area along with where you can hire a bike.

So, if you’re planning to explore London this summer or hoping to make the last mile of your commute to the office a bit healthier, we hope this map will be a useful tool. We would love you to help spread the word, so do share with friends & colleagues and loop in #NorthbankCleanerAir’

Next Steps

Every area has a unique set of challenges that contribute to poor air quality, but often these can be tackled on a local scale.

Northbank BID

Air Quality Leaflet

Monitoring Air Quality

Air Quality Pledge

To show your support for improving Air Quality through out the Northbank you can take the Air Quality Pledge.

Join other local businesses by showing your support and by signing up the Air Quality Pledge.

Contact us to get involved

Clean Air Walking Routes

What can you do to reduce your exposure to air pollution?

The Northbank BID have worked in partnership with Kings College London to research levels of personal exposure to pollution during the commutes of workers in the Northbank area.

Instead of using the busy main streets, when walking around the Northbank, taking a quieter route can reduce personal exposure to pollution by up to 47%. This can have significant positive effects on long
term health and wellbeing.

Find a clean air walking route for your journey at:

You can read a full article about the research carried out by King’s College and Northbank BID here.

Click & Collect

Reducing the number of deliveries to the Northbank is a crucial step in reducing the levels of harmful emissions. Personal deliveries make up a significant proportion of the total deliveries  to businesses day in day out.

We all hate missing a delivery at home and convenience is key to managing busy work schedules.  Click & Collect is a convenient, easy, and affordable way to help make a difference to air quality throughout the Northbank.

Many online retailers offer a click & collect service for free or at a reduced delivery cost.

Whether on your lunchbreak or commute, find the best spot for you, save money and breathe easier.

Find out more

Business Emissions

Business needs to play a key role in helping to try and tackle the air quality problem across the whole of London. These actions come in the forms of large-scale policy change and campaigns, but also through small easy to make changes, such as collating deliveries.

Below are a few suggestions for what businesses can do to help:

  • Communications
    Raising the profile of air quality to your staff. This can be done through both policy change within your business or via an internal marketing campaign. Communicating ideas such as clean air walking routes, cycling / public transport, using click & collect. The more we spread the message the bigger the difference we will be able to see day in day out.
  • Transportation
    Promoting walking & cycling as much as possible, and making it easier for staff to do this on their commute as much as possible.
  • Built Environment
    Reducing your companies gas consumption is good way to reduce that amount of emissions your business is producing. Installing ultra-low NOx technologies when replacing boilers is a key solution when working to reduce the amount of pollutants in the area.
  • Supply Chain
    Reducing the number of vehicles delivering to businesses in the Northbank is crucial, as a significant proportion the traffic in the Northbank area is caused by delivery vehicles. Consolidating deliveries is one step that can be taken, by having one supplier rather than several. Another could be to pressure your suppliers to use green and electric vehicles or move to a supplier who already does this.

At the Northbank BID we have created a set of 5 postcards which outline the steps that everyone can take to reduce the levels of emissions across the area. They are available to everyone so if your businesses would like to hand them out to staff members or display them internally contact to get a set for your business.

View the Postcards

Supporting Anti-Idling

Idling traffic is one of the biggest polluters in the Northbank area. Exhaust emissions are exacerbated when an engine is kept idly running when a vehicle is stationary, producing up to 150 balloons worth of pollution per minute.

By ensuring that engines are turned off when any vehicle is stationary for an extended period of time, we can reduce the levels of some of the most harmful emissions in our air and protect everyone’s health.

Here at the Northbank BID we are supporting Westminster City Councils #DontBeIdle campaign.

Find out more

You may also be interested in...

Evergreen Embankment: green wall

In our latest efforts to bring sustainability to life within the Northbank, we have been working with Transport for London & London Underground to install a green wall at Embankment Tube Station.

Illuminated River

The Illuminated River will be a long term art commission on an unprecedented scale: a scheme to light central London’s bridges along the River Thames. Coming to the Northbank in the summer of 2020, the illuminated bridges will greatly enhance the evening and nighttime atmosphere in the area. Find out more on the Illuminated River Project website.

Westminster City Council: Air Quality Action Plan

Air quality is the number one concern for people in Westminster. To help tackle this problem, Westminster have identified several priorities to help keep our air clean: reducing or cleaning dirty journeys and create better infrastructure for electric and low emission vehicles placing emissions and pollution at the forefront of decision making on public spaces and […]

Associated news

Explore the latest news from the area

10 January 2022

New Year Message from Ruth Duston, OBE OC

New Year is often a time for reflecting on the year gone by and looking forward to the year ahead. While many of us I’m sure are glad to be...

22 December 2021

A message from our Chief Executive

“As the year draws to a close it’s disappointing that there remains much uncertainty around the pandemic. Although the PM has now confirmed that there will be no further changes...

10 December 2021

Job Board

Placemaking Project Manager - Apply Here Board Administrator /Clerk - Apply Here Office/Team Administrator - Apply Here

10 December 2021

TfL announces safety ban of e-scooters on transport network

PN-141 Privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles will not be permitted on any TfL service or premises Ban will come into effect on Monday 13 DecemberTransport for London (TfL) has announced that...

2 December 2021

A message from Chief Executive, Ruth Duston – Omicron Variant

The festive season is here and while the new Omicron variant brings some fresh uncertainty, it’s still thrilling to see our business community and visitors enjoying the build up to...

1 December 2021

Festive Food and Drink Festive offers in The Northbank The Pandemic lead to many of our hospitality businesses having to close, and change their way of operating to ensure the...

Keep in the loop

Stay up to date with all the latest news, events, alerts, security and Privilege Card offers

Register now