Sustainable UCL


UCL pledges support for the Mayor’s proposals to improve Air Quality

15 December 2016

Air Consultation2


The President and Provost of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur, has expressed support on behalf of UCL for the London Mayor’s proposals to improve Air Quality. This includes support for an inner London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) for all vehicles as well as extending the ULEZ London-wide for all heavy vehicles. UCL believes this should be implemented by 2019 to deliver maximum improvements to air quality.

In a letter to Sadiq Khan, reproduced below, he sets out the benefits that UCL students and staff have already gained from the reduced air pollution following the introduction of a two-way cycle route on Torrington Place; and through actions undertaken by UCL to reduce the number of Heavy Goods Vehicles passing through the Bloomsbury campus.

UCL has several research programmes looking at how air quality might be improved in buildings, cities, and at a national and international level.  For example, UCL’s Energy Institute has met with the GLA Energy Strategy Group to discuss options for reducing air pollution from London’s energy supplies.

Share your support

The Mayor of London is running a consultation on his Air Quality improvement proposals until Friday 18th December, so there is still time to add your support. Use this helpful website which has pre-populated questions for you to save time and tell Sadiq Khan your views on London’s air quality.

13th December 2016

Dear Mr Khan

I am writing on behalf of University College London (UCL) in support of the proposals to improve air quality in London.

Our community of over fifty thousand students and staff working and studying in central London would greatly benefit from lower levels of air pollution.  Indeed, we have already seen the positive impact of reduced traffic on air quality; the introduction of a two-way cycle route on Torrington Place led to a 20% reduction in NO2 pollution.  This has created a healthier and more enjoyable place for our staff, students and our wider community.   We see this as a critical issue for London, and are taking action to ensure our operations have minimal impact on air quality.

We actively promote cycling and walking to our community; through increased provision of cycle parking, safety training and cycle maintenance. Furthermore, we have limited onsite parking to staff with mobility issues.

We also look to use teleconferencing and video conferencing in order to avoid unnecessary travel across London and outside.

As part of the Transforming UCL programme, we have made use of the London Construction Consolidation Centre. This allows individual deliveries to be made to a common warehouse outside central London, from where different materials can be transported to our sites as part of a larger shared load. This has reduced the volume of HGV traffic passing through the Bloomsbury campus. We are also tracking mileage and CO2 emitted from all construction vehicles used in our projects to help identify further efficiencies.

UCL has also taken action to reduce the level of emissions produced by our energy consumption in buildings. We have replaced older gas boilers on our District Heating Network with new low NOx models. Our Sustainable Building Standard requires our contractors to use the most efficient equipment and materials in our construction and refurbishment projects.

UCL therefore supports an inner London ULEZ for all vehicles as well extending the ULEZ London wide for all heavy vehicles.  This captures those diesel vehicles which cause most air pollution. UCL believes that this should be implemented from 2019 to deliver the maximum improvement to air quality.

UCL has several research programmes looking at how air quality might be improved in buildings, in cities and at national and international scales. The city team has met with the GLA energy strategy group to discuss options for energy and air pollution management. Our research generally leads to air pollution reduction policies which have synergistic benefits of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and more use of renewable energy.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Arthur