Improving air quality by supporting sustainable transport

Rebuilding a greener Hackney

Since the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have changed the way we get around. People are walking and cycling more. However, since 2013 there has been an increase in the number of car journeys in London.

Hackney wants to build back a greener Hackney through supporting the use of active travel such as walking and cycling and prioritising public transport.

This is being done through the implementation of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) and protected cycle lanes. This aims to reduce road traffic, thereby improving air quality.

View more information on rebuilding a greener Hackney.


Cycling is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel and has the added co-benefits of improving physical and mental health.

We’re London’s leading borough for cycling, and now have a higher proportion of journeys made by bike than any other borough.

This is because we are making cycling more accessible and safer by investing in cycling routes such as the cycle superhighways which run through the borough.

Find out more about how we’re supporting all aspects of cycling, including training, bike maintenance, parking and storage.

School Streets

Our pioneering School Streets programme is being implemented at schools across the borough.

They work by shutting off the road outside schools to traffic at set times. This means that only pedestrians and cyclists can access them.

This is to reduce congestion and pollution sources outside schools, thus improving air quality and road safety.


Vehicle idling is leaving the engine of your vehicle running while stationary. Rules on idling don’t apply when the vehicle is stopped in queuing traffic or at a red light.

Hackney is one of 31 boroughs participating in a pan-London anti-idling project – idling action. The campaign aims to change behaviour around idling by raising awareness of the impacts that vehicle idling can have on air quality.

As a project partner, Hackney is delivering various activities such as school workshops and idling action events within the community.

As part of the efforts to raise awareness and encourage behaviour change, Hackney is installing signs in idling ‘hotspot’ areas reminding drivers to turn their engines off when stationary.

Additionally, Hackney is part of the project’s engines off campaign. This means we’ve asked our fleet operators to make a pledge to stop idling and help improve air quality.

We’re also trialling a scheme that will allow authorised officers to issue drivers with a penalty charge notice if they refuse to switch off their engine. This is being implemented in an area around Finsbury Park through the use of an experimental traffic order.

Report idling vehicles

You can report areas where idling is an issue to

When idling incidents are reported we’ll:

  • record the details of the incident
  • map the location. The location is then considered for the installation of signs asking people to stop idling. Signs will be installed in a phased approach with the aim to have signs within hotspot areas for approximately 6 months before being moved to another area

Supporting electric vehicles

We’ve installed publicly accessible electric vehicle charging points across the borough.

We were also the first borough to provide publicly accessible on-street rapid charging points, including for taxis.

This roll-out supports policies such as the Mayor of London’s ultra low emissions delivery plan and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) go ultra low scheme.

See electric vehicles to find out more, including the locations of charging points.

Ultra low emission streets

In partnership with Islington Council and the Mayor of London, we’ve set up 2 ultra low emission (ULEV) streets on the City Fringe during peak hours (Monday – Friday, 7-10am and 4-7pm).

During these hours, only vehicles which are low emission are permitted to enter the area which also makes cycling and walking more attractive.

Find out more about ULEV streets including a map of the zones.

Zero Emission Network

The Zero Emission Network (ZEN) which works across Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington aims to support businesses and residents making the switch to low or zero emission modes of transport.

Free offers for ZEN members range from E-bike switch grants to eco audits to help reduce emissions.

See how you can work towards cleaner air by signing up for free to ZEN.

Our fleet

We’re continuing to upgrade our award-winning fleet and associated infrastructure. Our fleet is now contributing to a yearly reduction of 0.5 tonnes of NOx and 40kg of particulate matter.

One action we’ve taken is the implementation of charging points across the borough depots, helping facilitate the switch to electric vehicles.

In addition to this, a high proportion of our fleet is Euro 6 compliant and use hydrogenated vegetable oil as a fuel source.

Charging polluting vehicles

We were one of the first local authorities to introduce emissions-based parking permits, meaning that polluting vehicles are charged more so as to discourage their use.

Details of all our parking charges are set out in our parking and enforcement plan.

Ultra low emission zone expansion

In London, road transport contributes to around half of NO2 emissions as well as leading to increased PM10 and PM2.5 emissions.

To help combat emissions from road transport, Transport for London (TfL) implemented an ultra low emission zone (ULEZ). This covered the same area as the congestion charge zone.

From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ will be expanded up to, but not including, the North and South Circulars. This means that the whole of Hackney will be within the ULEZ.

If you drive a vehicle within the ULEZ, it must meet the prescribed standards or you’ll be required to pay a charge.

Find out more about the ULEZ including the expansion and vehicle standards.

Page updated on: 12 August 2021

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