London's red double-decker buses are famous the world over. Now, the city is set to be home to the world's first double-decker powered by hydrogen.
In an announcement on Wednesday, mayor of London Sadiq Khan – whose father was a bus driver in the city – said that no more pure diesel double deckers would be added to London's fleet of buses from 2018, and that all new single-decker buses used in the center of the city would be zero-emission. The hydrogen double-decker is set to be trialed on London's roads in 2017.
Air pollution is an increasingly pressing problem in London, where buses, taxis, trucks, cars and motorbikes – along with cyclists – jostle for space on the roads.
"I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology," Khan said in a statement on Wednesday during the International Zero-Emission Bus Conference and Summit. "I'm implementing hard-hitting measures to clean-up London's toxic air," he added.
Authorities in London said that "at least" 20 brand new hydrogen buses would be delivered as part of a £10 million ($12.47 million) "part-EU funded project." Transport for London would provide at least £5 million of funding.
Air pollution is an issue across the U.K. as a whole. A report earlier this year linked exposure to outdoor air pollution to roughly 40,000 deaths in the country a year.
The report, a joint effort between the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians, said air pollution has been linked to wide range of diseases from cancer to asthma, heart disease and diabetes.