Residents support clean air plans but oppose Oxford Street closure

Representatives of people living in the West End have backed Sadiq Khan’s plans to improve air quality but have again stressed their opposition to pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

Buses queuing along street.

Buses on diversion along Wigmore Street in Marylebone during “traffic free day” on Oxford Street.

Transport for London (TfL) carried out a public consultation on a vehicle emissions surcharge and for improving the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

“We are happy to confirm our support for the Mayor’s initiatives for improving air quality in London,” wrote Michael Bolt on behalf of the West End Community Network (WECN) in a letter responding to the consultation which closed on the weekend.

WECN is made up of residents groups in Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Mayfair, Soho and St James.

However, the groups took the opportunity to restate their opposition to plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street because they say it would shift motor traffic into side streets.

“Even if bus services are substantially reduced, the number of taxis, remaining buses and commercial vehicles displaced will be enormous and beyond the capacity of our already crowded local roads to manage without incurring significant additional congestion.

“The problem that Oxford Street shoppers now face will be simply displaced to affect those living and working nearby,” stated the letter.

The residents groups state that when Oxford Street has been closed for “traffic free days” all the motor vehicles are merely diverted along parallel streets.

In the summer residents met London Assembly members to express their concern about pedestrianisation plans.

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