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Date created: 6/29/2020

On the 18 March 2020 the City of London Corporation introduced traffic changes on Beech Street, Bridgewater Street and Golden Lane with the aim of reducing air pollution. The experimental traffic scheme will run for up to 18 months.

Beech Street has had historically high levels of air pollution due to the traffic and the enclosed nature of the street. Urgent improvement was needed to bring nitrogen dioxide levels within World Health Organisation guidelines. This scheme is the UK’s first ‘zero emission street’ operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A zero emission street is a street for people who are:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • using a zero-emission vehicle
  • travelling on an electric bus (e.g. bus route 153)

Only zero emission vehicles are permitted to drive through Beech Street except for those accessing off-street premises. These include the car parks, forecourts and servicing areas located directly on Beech Street.

The scheme is being enforced by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. A vehicle contravening the experimental traffic order will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

These changes have started as an experimental scheme and if successful may be made permanent. This is the first step towards achieving the goal of a wider zero emission zone in the Barbican/Golden Lane area, as set out in the City Corporation’s Transport Strategy.

The scheme forms part of the Barbican Low Emission Neighbourhood. It is funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

The zero emission criteria are explained and there is information on enforcement under the Beech Street heading below.

Beech Street Zero Emissions Area Map PDF (180KB)

Date submitted: 6/29/20

Beech Street Zero Emissions Access Map PDF (60KB)

Date submitted: 6/29/20

Beech Street

You can only drive along the full length of Beech Street if you use a zero emission vehicle. This is an electric or hybrid vehicle that meets all of the below criteria:

  • Maximum 75 g CO2/km;
  • Minimum 20-mile zero emission range; and,
  • Euro 6 equivalent NOx emission standard.

If you are unsure about your vehicle’s emissions, check your vehicle logbook or visit the Gov.UK vehicle enquiry page.

Which other vehicles can continue to use Beech Street?

Any vehicle accessing or exiting premises located directly on Beech Street for parking, loading, pick up/drop-off, deliveries and servicing is permitted to use Beech Street.

The central reservation between Aldersgate Street and Cromwell Tower prevents a right hand turn in Beech Street. To avoid a penalty charge, please approach the car parks, forecourts and service areas from the directions below.

Approach from the east for:

  • Barbican Centre car park (Beech Street entrance)
  • Lauderdale Place for Barbican Estate office and Lauderdale Tower forecourt
  • Shakespeare Tower and Defoe House car park

Approach from either direction for:

  • Cromwell Tower ground floor car park and forecourt

Approach from the west for:

  • Barbican Trade Centre West Vehicle Entrance

For taxi and private hire pick up and drop off you will either need to pre-book a taxi or private hire vehicle to your car park or forecourt on Beech Street or hail a zero emission taxi on the street.

Emergency service vehicles have full access along Beech Street.

Properties located near but not on Beech Street

A key principle of the scheme is to ensure that residents, businesses, their visitors, and their deliveries can continue to access their properties. If you are not using a zero emission vehicle you will need to take another route to your property avoiding Beech Street.


If you drive the full length of Beech Street in a vehicle that is not a zero emission vehicle, you will receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) of £130. If you pay within 14 days the PCN will be reduced to £65. The scheme is enforced by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. Non zero emission vehicles will be rerouted and there is advanced warnings and signage on the approach to the street.

Additional Traffic Changes

Bridgewater Street, Golden Lane and Silk Street

The junction of Bridgewater Street and Beech Street is closed to motor vehicles. The junction of Golden Lane and Beech Street is closed to motor vehicles. During the experiment you can turn right from Silk Street into Chiswell Street.

Fortune Street

Fortune Street is closed to motor vehicles except for buses and permit holders. Islington Borough Council have contacted those eligible for the virtual permit.

Have your say

Tell us what you think of the scheme by responding to our consultation.

Objections or statements of support for the experimental traffic order can be made throughout the public consultation period.

The survey results will help inform the decision on whether to make the scheme permanent, make amendments or remove it.

Talk to a member of the team

If you would like to discuss the experimental zero emission scheme with a member of the project team you can do so by:

  • Emailing the project team to arrange a phone call or video call
  • Asking for a call-back by calling 020 7332 1281 and leaving a message with your name, number and a suitable time to call you.

Monitoring and final scheme decision

There is a comprehensive monitoring strategy in place measuring a range of elements including traffic flows, air quality and noise levels both on Beech Street and the surrounding area taking place.

The results of the consultation and monitoring activities will be reported to City of London Corporation Committees so that they can decide whether to make the scheme permanent, make amendments or remove the scheme.

The views of neighbouring boroughs will also be considered as part of the decision-making process.

Latest Committee report

Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee February 2021