London officials met at City Hall this week to discuss the best way to move forward with a ban on cars in certain areas of the city on specific days of the year. If the initial trials are successful, the city will consider “more ambitious plans” for 2019. These moves are a response to the public health threat of air pollution, which prematurely kills thousands of people each year.

Big Ben in London at sunset

London City Hall is reportedly planning to inaugurate car-free days unique to each borough of the city and will build upon the previous car-free days set for special events. This policy is one of several intended to improve public health by reducing air pollution in London. A spokesperson for the mayor told the Guardian, “Tackling toxic emissions from the most polluting vehicles is a core part of the hard-hitting measures the mayor has introduced to help clean up London’s air, from delivering the Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) in central London, to the early introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and transforming the bus fleet.”

Related: UPS declares the “beginning of the end” for combustion engines by making its London fleet entirely electric

The city is taking action in the wake of a joint inquiry by four committees in Parliament, which described air pollution as a “national health emergency” that causes the premature death of 40,000 people every year in the United Kingdom. The committees’ report highlights the inadequacy of the British government’s clean air policy plan, which has already been rejected by the high court three times. To compensate for the lack of a national movement against pollution, cities such as London are taking action. A spokesperson said, “[London Mayor Sadiq Khan] is determined to do everything in his power to protect the health of Londoners and prioritise walking, cycling and public transport and reduce Londoners’ dependency on polluting cars.”

Via The Guardian

Images via Pedro Szekely/Flickr and Martin Hesketh/Flickr