London mayor Sadiq Khan warns over 'filthy air and gridlocked roads'

traffic of the A205 South Circular road in Lewisham, south London. R
Traffic builds up on the South Circular road in Lewisham, south London

London faces a crisis of filthy air and gridlocked roads unless car use is reduced, the capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has warned.

Mr Khan highlighted the economic and health costs of congestion as he called for a focus on "greener means of travel".

He pointed out recent figures published by the traffic information supplier Inrix, which stated that last year congestion cost London’s economy £5.1 billion, and an average of £1,211 per driver.

  • The study found that London became the world’s most congested city last year.

  • Public transport ridership in the capital is significantly behind pre-pandemic levels, with buses at 70% and Tube travel at 55%.

  • Meanwhile, car use has nearly recovered to 100% of normal

Sadiq Khan said: "Whilst we have made huge strides in increasing walking and cycling in London throughout the pandemic, car use has remained consistently high.

"If we do not double down on our efforts to deliver a greener, more sustainable future, we will replace one public health crisis with another – caused by filthy air and gridlocked roads.

"The cost to both Londoners and the capital (should not) be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts.

"Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel."