Skip to main content  


Beech Street - zero emissions

Beech street 2019

On 16 December, City of London Corporation committees backed plans to launch the UK’s first 24/7 zero emission street in a bid to improve air quality in the Square Mile.

Beech Street is expected to become restricted to zero emission vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians by Spring 2020, pending final approval by Transport for London. Exceptions will be provided for emergency vehicles, those accessing the car parks off Beech Street and for refuse collection and deliveries.

Bus route 153, which is fully electric and runs down Beech Street, is unaffected by the changes.

The experimental traffic order will run for a maximum of 18 months, during which time the impact on air quality and traffic will be monitored.

Beech Street experiences high levels of air pollution as it is a busy, enclosed thoroughfare. A significant improvement in air quality is expected, resulting in health benefits for the many pedestrians and cyclists that use the street. The scheme aims to bring nitrogen dioxide levels within air quality guidelines set out by the European Union and World Health Organisation. We also hope to improve air quality in the vicinity of the street, particularly around the entrances to Richard Cloudesley School and Prior Weston Primary School.

If deemed successful, the trial may be made permanent. The scheme has been funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

Who can use Beech Street during the scheme?

  • drivers of zero-emission vehicles 
  • bus route 153 and its passengers 
  • cyclists
  • pedestrians
  • vehicles accessing premises off Beech Street for loading and servicing purposes
  • emergency service vehicles
  • Those accessing the following located off Beech Street
    - Barbican Centre car park, Beech Street entrance
    - Barbican Estate
    - Shakespeare Tower and Defoe House
    - Cromwell Tower ground floor carpark
    - Lauderdale Place
    - Barbican Trade Centre West Vehicle Entrance

What is a zero-emission vehicle?

As per Transport for London’s guidance and standards for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount for the Congestion Charge, zero emission vehicles will need to comply with all of the following criteria:

  • Maximum 75 g CO2/km
  • Minimum 20 mile zero emission range
  • Euro 6 equivalent NOx emission standard

Awareness, consultation and monitoring

To improve awareness of the zero-emission restrictions on Beech Street, we will provide clear street signage. An information campaign will take place before the restrictions come in, including social media, leafleting and direct discussions with residents and City firms. Drop-in sessions for residents of the Barbican and Islington will also take place in February.

As the scheme is being implemented under an experimental traffic order, the formal public consultation period will coincide with the first six months of the restriction. There will be additional public drop in sessions and meetings with local businesses during this time period.

A comprehensive monitoring strategy will be in place during the experiment measuring traffic flows and air quality both on Beech Street and the surrounding road network. Results of the public consultation and the monitoring undertaken will be reported back to City Committees.


To deliver these changes, vehicles will be rerouted via advance warnings and signage on the approach to the street. Vehicle restrictions will be enforced via automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras with a penalty charge notice issued to drivers who contravene the experimental traffic order.

Next steps

Following approval by the relevant City Corporation committees, the implementation of the scheme is subject to final approval from Transport for London.

Contact us

If you have any questions related to the scheme email the project team.

03 July 2019
Last Modified:
18 December 2019