City of London shut down for Car Free Day

Is London's car free day enough to encourage air cleanup?

On Sunday (September 22 2019), 12.3 miles of London’s roads will be closed to traffic for Car-Free Day. Organised by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the event is intended to promote emissions-free transport and cleaner air. 

Areas of the City of London, London Bridge and Tower Bridge will be shut on the day. The scheme covers 18 boroughs of the capital.

Cleaning up London: more than a Car-Free Day

Is London's car free day enough to encourage air cleanup?

Every year, 9,000 deaths in London are linked to air quality. 

“Reducing air pollution in London is massively important and Car Free Day is great for raising awareness of this issue,” said James Blackham, CEO of By Miles, which insures cars on a miles-driven basis.

“But when we all jump back in our cars on Monday morning, what’s really changed?”

Is London's car free day enough to encourage air cleanup?

By Miles says the government needs to reward those who drive less on a more permanent basis.

“We all need to shift our behaviour and drive less every single day. This has obvious benefits for the environment, but also for our own health and wellbeing,” said Blackham.

It says the more conventional insurance system actually encourages drivers to add miles, in order to get the most from their annual outlay.

Is London's car free day enough to encourage air cleanup?

“”Today the system is loaded against them. It actually encourages us to drive more, not less. For example, a higher mileage driver actually pays less per mile for their car insurance premium than a low mileage driver. A higher mileage driver pays exactly the same vehicle tax as a lower mileage driver too, despite generating more emissions and causing more wear and tear to our roads.

“The Government also has to step in and reward positive behaviour change to cut air pollution and carbon emissions every day: when you drive less, you should pay less.”

Blackham has a point, although setting a mileage limit for your car insurance can also lead to a lower premium.