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.
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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.