Better Air


Poor air quality is one of the most important public health issues facing London. Collectively we can work towards improving air quality in our neighbourhood.

Poor air quality is one of the most important public health issues facing London. Over 9,500 people die prematurely in the capital as a result of air pollution. Air pollution disproportionately affects the vulnerable, the old and the young, but it also contributes to long term health problems such as heart disease.

Local air quality has direct impacts on the business community, from missed working days to comprised international competitiveness. Local air quality is important to our businesses – 79% of businesses want to see improvements in local air quality. This was the second most important priority in an independent survey of business owners, after ‘Investing in public spaces and urban greenery’ and just above ‘Improving streets for walking and cycling’.

There is currently one air quality monitors in the Bankside area, on Borough High Street. Using this data and monitoring carried out by Kings College London show that levels of the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM), on major roads and junctions fail the limits set by the EU and WHO.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a number of steps to tackle air pollution including the Ultra-Low Emission Zone for Inner London. This will help reduce levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in Bankside, but they will have a limited impact on Particulate Matter. This is a problem as research has found that there are no safe levels for particulates. The build-up of particulates also causes grime on windows, buildings and clothes.

Working directly with local businesses and other key stakeholders, we have developed a number of programmes to improve local air quality.

Better Air Benches

Better Bankside continues its work to create a clean air corridor through the historic streets of Bankside with Better Air Benches, designed to alleviate and raise awareness of air quality issues.

Containing English Ivy, one of nature’s best air pollution disruptors, the benches are designed to further Better Bankside’s aim of encouraging people to choose to walk the lesser-trodden, low emissions routes through the area, immediately reducing their exposure to pollutants.

Designed by London landscape, art, and architecture practice, Wayward + Studio Mata, and introduced as part of the London Festival of Architecture 2019, the benches bring vegetation to the urban landscape, introducing extra surfaces for capturing pollution and creating a pleasant place to sit.

Look out for the benches across the neighbourhood, they will be positioned on quiet routes between tube and rail stations and workplaces and landmarks, including a route from Southwark tube to the area around Tate Modern.

If you have any enquires or know a perfect spot you’d like to see the benches at, please contact us.

Take to the side streets

Walk Bankside’s side streets to reduce your exposure to pollutants (by 25%) and uncover the story of the neighbourhood hidden in plain sight along its medieval streets. Now more than ever it’s a time to step onto quieter routes with fewer pedestrians and glimpse London’s Other Side through a new lens.

We’ve produced a map that highlights those routes through Bankside which can be taken to and from transport hubs to your workplace.

Delivery and Servicing to the Workplace

Better Bankside is working with local businesses to help them manage the number of deliveries to the office. We have worked with a range of local businesses, including multi-tenanted and single-tenanted buildings, hotels, housing associations, and restaurants.
Interested in knowing how you can minimise unnecessary deliveries to the workplace? You can do so in four easy steps:

  • Data collection: Record incoming and outgoing deliveries for a select period of time. Better Bankside will provide the easy-to-use data collection form.
  • Data review: Better Bankside will review the data and outline how many and the types of deliveries made to your business.
  • Recommendations: Better Bankside will make simple and easy-to-implement recommendations for your business, including quick wins and longer-term goals.
  • Implement recommendations: Better Bankside will work with your business to implement the recommendations.

Get in touch  if you want to find out more about how we can help you create a delivery and servicing plan.

Coming in 2022: Green Logistics Centre

The Green Logistics Centre will improve the co-ordination of deliveries and tackle poor air quality by reducing the number of diesel vans in the area. Our members can redirect bulk deliveries to the centre, which will store them on a short-terms basis and deliver the quantity you need on a green vehicle (by electric van or cargo bike). The aim is to turn your weekly deliveries into a monthly one – saving you money and improving air quality at the same time.