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Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN)

    City LEN Logo


The City of London Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) was established in September 2016, a three-year initiative supported by the Mayor of London. The City successfully bid for the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund and were awarded £990,000 to implement the LEN in the Barbican, Guildhall and St Bart's area of the Square Mile between September 2016 and July 2019.

The City of London's LEN is one of five set up across eight boroughs in London. To find out more about the other LENs go to the Greater London Authorities website.

What was the aim?

The aim was to pilot local air quality improving initiatives involving raising awareness, reducing the amount of traffic and encouraging and supporting low and zero emission vehicles in the locality. Now the project has ended, the most successful measures are being considered for wider roll out across the City.

Throughout the last 3 years, the LEN project has delivered the following schemes:​

Monitoring of NO2 and PM levels in the LEN area

​Automatic analysers in Beech Street provide continuous real-time data about the local pollution levels of NO2 and PM10. Data can be accessed from London Air Quality Network.

A network of diffusion tubes gave a monthly indication of NO2 levels across the LEN area throughout the project lifetime. Results are included in the City of London's annual report on air quality.

All monitoring of air pollution in the LEN area helps shape the overall understanding of air pollution in the City. Please go to our monitoring page for more information.


The LEN project funded an electric vehicle fitted with specialist air quality monitoring equipment. Over a period of three days in March 2017, the Smogmobile drove around the streets of the LEN, and the wider City, to gain a detailed understanding of how pollution levels in the City and how change at different periods of the day and week.

The Smogmobile monitored NO2, particulates and black carbon, and had an antennae that could be raised to measure the pollution levels at differing heights.

Stakeholder Engagement and Awareness Raising

​CityAir Newsletter

A newsletter bringing together LEN updates, and air quality information for the City has been published every other month since September 2017.

Subscribe here

Low Emission Neighbourhood Launch Event

In January 2017, over 160 people, majority residents in the LEN area, attended the LEN launch event, which was held at the City of London Girls School. A range of speakers provided stakeholders with information on the City’s LEN project proposals, the actions being proposed by the Mayor of London on a London-wide level, in addition to hearing from Client Earth on why they were taking the Government to Court.
There were also several information stands offering opportunities to learn more about air quality in the City and learn about electric vehicles, including the chance to test drive BMW and Nissan electric vehicles.

Neighbourhood Stories

The LEN Neighbourhood Stories are a series of interviews with local businesses, residents and visitors, to capture attitudes, beliefs and behaviours regarding air quality, available on the City’s YouTube channel. The films are a vehicle to raise awareness of the LEN project, primarily through social media and at events.

Neighbourhood stories forms part of the longer-term strategy to engage residents and local businesses and help support potential physical measures and the introduction of traffic restrictions to improve air quality.

Business Engagement

LEN business engagement activities commenced in early 2017, tying in with the wider CityAir business engagement programme. So far 50 organisations have engaged, more than 20 participating in an air quality benchmarking survey.

School Engagement

Through the LEN programme, the City of London Air Quality team is encouraging students at the City of London Girls School to be involved with improving air pollution.

In June 2017, as part of the awareness raising activities for the LEN project, a lunchtime lecture on ‘The health impacts of air pollution’ was given to students by the leading air quality academic, Dr Ian Mudway from King’s College London. The 45 minute lecture was very popular, with over 100 students in attendance to learn more about the impact of air pollution on human health.

In May 2018, Year 8 students spent a day learning about air quality and planting a community garden on Moor Lane Bridge, in a joint project between the LEN team and Friends of City Gardens. The girls alternated between time planting, learning about the importance of greening for both air pollution and biodiversity, amongst other benefits, and discovering more about the issue of air quality and how they can both reduce their personal exposure and assist in air quality improving measures.

Idling Engine training with St Bart's Ambulance Services

In March 2017 the LEN team arranged and funded a No Idling driver training course for ambulance and patient transport drivers in efforts to reduce idling outside St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The event was held with drivers based at St Bart’s Hospital to ensure they not only turn off their own engines but also speak to other drivers to reduce the idling of vehicle engines around the hospital site.

Cargo bike Schemes

​​Smithfield cargo bike delivery service

Launched in December 2017 for a pilot trial, the LEN partnered with Zedify cargo bike operators to offer 'zero-emission' meat deliveries for traders at Smithfield Market across the festive season. A successful trial saw the scheme become full-time, taking on deliveries from a wider range of businesses in the Smithfield area.

The cargo bike scheme is designed to help local businesses in the area tackle air pollution by making the choice to shift from using polluting diesel vans to cargo bikes for short distance deliveries.

Press: Launching the scheme, Valentines deliveries

Golden Lane Resident's cargo bike

As part of a trial to assess the potential for a community cargo bike hire scheme, the LEN has sponsored the hire of a cargo bike for use by Golden Lane residents. It is frequently used by the Golden Baggers to ferry gardening supplies.

City Gardener's cargo bike

In line with the LEN's low emission travel and greening agenda, the LEN funded the purchase of two cargo bikes for use by City Gardeners. This eliminated the need to use petrol or diesel fuelled vans to ferry tools and plants between the City Gardener's depot and the Barbican and Golden Lane Estates.

Delivery and Service Planning

The LEN project has funded a survey of all on-street loading and unloading activities in the EC2Y (Barbican) and EC2V (Guildhall) post codes to obtain a comprehensive understanding of what freight and delivery activity takes place, when it takes place, and why it takes place, with the view to inform and support the implementation of the City’s Freight strategy.

The LEN project collaborated with key organisations in the LEN area to develop delivery and servicing plan (DSP) case studies. Consultants worked with the businesses to understand their existing delivery and servicing activities by surveying all incoming and outgoing freight activity, and then recommend pathways to reduce freight related trips with support from the LEN project to implement these actions.

Thanks to Barbican Centre; Museum of London; Guildhall and Walbrook Wharf; London Wall; Linklaters, Silk Street; Citypoint, Ropemaker Street; and Cheapside Business Alliance for participating.

NRMM and Construction

Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) is the type of diesel-fuelled machinery that is used on construction sites, for example generators, diggers or cranes. This equipment must now meet a certain standard set by the Greater London Authority (GLA), and site management should ensure that all site vehicles are well maintained to reduce emissions and are not left idling unnecessarily.

As part of the LEN project Sir Robert McAlpine consultants were tasked with auditing all construction sites within the north west area of the City to assess compliance with the GLA standards and the City of London’s own Code of Practice. Where compliance was not met the report recommended actions and City officers are working with developers and construction companies to ensure wider compliance.

Electric Vehicle Charging

​The initial LEN bid stated paving the way for electric vehicle charging points within the LEN to be one of its key deliverables throughout the three-year project period.

Barbican Estate residential EV charging

In May 2017, 23 electric vehicle charging points servicing 30 bays across five carparks on the Barbican Estate went live. A crowd gathered in Thomas More car park for the commissioning of the EV charging points, including 'how-to-use' demonstrations and a chance for residents to talk with EV experts from BMW, Nissan, Zipcar and Tesla, before attending an informative evening reception with talks on Air Quality in the City, the Barbican Estate EV charging 6-month pilot project, EV charging networks across London, and EV market trends across the UK.

Thomas More, Breton House, Willoughby House, Bunyan House and Cromwell House car parks were the five carparks chosen to act as pilot sites, and a selection of charging equipment (socket/tethered, 3kW, 7kW and 20kW) was installed across these carparks.

A 6-month trial was undertaken to identify the most suitable type of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for the estate, through assessing user experience and monitoring EV charging point usage. The Best Practice report produced at the end of the trial provides recommendations for rolling out EV charging infrastructure throughout further carparks on the Barbican Estate and other City of London carparks.

If you are a resident, we would we be interested in hearing your views on EV charging through our short survey assessing attitudes towards electric vehicles, and key factors influencing your decisions, purchasing plans and vehicle usage.

Press: launching EV charging on the Barbican Estate

Greening the LEN

​​The City of London Corporation and the Friends of City Gardens worked together to install greening projects across the LEN. Research shows that planting can improve local air quality by trapping particulates, in addition to enhancing the local environment and improving biodiversity.

Clean Air Gardens City in Bloom 2017 Challenge

The LEN partnered with Friends of City Gardens to launch the ‘Clean and green for seventeen Air Quality Challenge’ in January 2017 as part of the City in Bloom 2017 greening grey streets campaign. Involving residents, City businesses, institutions and community groups, the Challenge encouraged entrants to make a difference to their local street by designing and installing a planting scheme, using plants that will help to trap particulates and enhance biodiversity.

The 19 Clean Air Gardens created range from small planters to cattle troughs to large publicly accessible plazas and green spaces. Each Clean Air Garden carries the message about the importance of reducing emissions and they are designed to encourage passers-by to mitigate their exposure to busy roads and take low emission routes.

Museum of London LEN Urban Garden

Planters were installed outside the entrance to the Museum of London in September 2017 through the collaborative efforts of the Low Emission Neighbourhood, Museum of London and Citizen Sense.

Plants were selected for their ‘phyto-sensor’ properties – the ability to signal the presence of particular pollutants through changes in their physiology and appearance, absorb or channel pollutants through deposition and dispersal (especially particulates), or accumulate and transform pollutants.

The LEN supported Citizen Sense and Museum of London in the development of a Phyto-sensor toolkit to create your own air quality Urban Garden. to create your own air quality Urban Garden.

Barbican Centre Gardens go Low Emission

The LEN has funded the purchase of electric battery powered mowers and blowers for use by the City Gardener’s team across the gardens on the Barbican Estate. These low emission tools replace petrol fuelled equipment.

Promoting Walking and Cycling

​One of the key proposals of the LEN was to move stakeholder groups from using fuelled transport for short journeys to walking and cycling. This has a multi-faceted purpose of reducing transport in the LEN and promoting health and fitness.

Barbican Low Emission Route

Low emission route through the Barbican area was launched in June 2017 to improve way finding and encourage more people to take the quieter, less polluted route between Barbican Station and Moorgate, thereby reducing their exposure to air pollution of the roadside.

This alternative route is promoted at the Barbican station and Moor Lane entrances.

CityAir app

The CityAir app developed by the City of London Corporation and Kings College University is being promoted to stakeholders in the LEN, encouraging travel using low emission routes.

Secure Cycle Parking

The LEN project installed 90 secure cycle parking spaces on the Barbican Estate and a further 6 on the Golden Lane estate - a mix of bike cages, bike hangers and two-tier bike racks.

A phased programme upgrading cycle parking facilities was initiated in response to an audit the LEN carried out of the condition and capacity of all cycle parking facilities across the Estate car parks in March 2017.

Throughout this project, the LEN project team worked with the Bike Project charity to donate dozens of abandoned bikes on the Barbican Estate to be recycled and repaired for donation to asylum seekers and refugees living in London.


The LEN team continues to collaborate with the City of London Corporation Road Danger Reduction team to promote cycling and active travel through:

Supporting the Active City Network
- Promoting Cycle to Work campaign including free breakfast at our pop-up Cycling stalls
- Offering Dr Bike sessions and bike security markings by City of London Police
- Pop-up events raising awareness of air quality and promoting safer cycling to stakeholder groups