Beech Street is in line for a dramatic change.
The grey, Brutalist structures of the Barbican Estate don’t seem like a fertile breeding ground for radical, environmentally-friendly experiments, but that could all change soon. Beech Street – a rather dreary road tunnel which runs next to Barbican Centre – looks set to become the first road in the UK to become a 24-hour zero-emissions street, if plans from The City of London Corporation go ahead.
By banning petrol and diesel cars under an eighteen-month traffic order, the Corporation hopes to reduce levels of pollution and toxic air on this busy thoroughfare, and thus make the area a cleaner and greener space. The plan involves monitoring air quality during the eighteen months, and examining data from surrounding streets to see if traffic actually reduces, or just moves elsewhere.
Anything with a combustion engine won’t be allowed through, meaning Beech Street will soon become the preserve of zero-emissions vehicles and cyclists. There are, however, a couple of exemptions which mean Beech Street won’t be 100% zero-emissions; emergency services will still have access to the road, as will rubbish collections and deliveries.
The plans aren’t finalised yet – TfL needs to sign off on the scheme before it can go ahead – but it looks like a good first step to making the capital a cleaner, healthier place to live. Here’s hoping the Beech Street trial is the first of many!
Also published on Medium.