Climate Action

London installs public water fountains to tackle plastic waste

In a move aimed to reduce the use of plastic bottles and increase accessibility to tap water the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new scheme to stimulate the deployment of public water fountains and bottle-refill stations across the city.

  • 23 January 2018
  • Websolutions

In a move aimed to reduce the use of plastic bottles and increase accessibility to tap water the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new scheme to stimulate the deployment of public water fountains and bottle-refill stations across the city.

According to information revealed by The Guardian, a pilot network of 20 drinking fountains will be developed in London this summer, whereas a bottle-refill initiative will be rolled out across 5 areas this February, making businesses offer free tap water to the public.

The proposed initiative is set to cost £750,000 over the span of the next 3 years as reported in London’s budget plan for 2018, which will need to be approved by the London Assembly’s budget committee this Thursday.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment, said: “We shouldn’t be using single-use plastics. The impact on the environment is so immense. We just need to get on now and stop their use in London”.

Mayor Khan proposed the implementation of such schemes earlier in 2017 and has asked City Hall officials to examine their feasibility.

Ms. Rodrigues revealed that despite the fact that locations of the new public drinking fountains have not been decided yet, tube stations and busy shopping areas, such as Oxford Street, are some possible sites.

“We are going to be looking at partnerships with organisations like business improvement districts and boroughs and others to understand where we can install more water fountains”, Ms. Rodrigues explained about the pilot bottle-refill points.

Businesses offering free tap water to the public will feature special signs in their windows to let people know.

Under the same initiative, City Hall will ban plastic cups, bottles and single-use cutlery on its own premises to inspire other businesses to follow suit.

Paul O’Connell from the Drinking Fountain Association, a UK organisation advocating for public drinking fountains to reduce plastic waste welcomed the news.

“In the past, we have had vague promises and announcements, so to hear specifics around numbers – and, most importantly, dates – is really good. Obviously, summer is when demand for water goes up, so having fountains in time for this summer will help”, he said, and urged Liverpool and Manchester to follow.