A new £5m scheme will help to create a network of hundreds of free public water fountains across busy areas of London, helping to reduce single-use plastic waste and encouraging people to refill rather than buy bottled water.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has partnered with Thames Water on the new fund which is open for councils, businesses, venues and outlets that are land owners.
The average adult in London buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – some 175 bottles every year. In total, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste (stats from ZSL #OneLess campaign.)
The new fountains will be installed from spring 2019 and will be located in shopping centres, museums, business districts, outside busy stations, large green spaces and other publicly accessible areas with high footfall.
The new network of fountains is in addition to the first 20 the Mayor is already delivering this year across London. These are proving very popular with the public, with more than 8,000 litres of drinking water, the equivalent of 16,000 water bottles, dispensed from the two Liverpool Street Station fountains alone in less than one month.
“For many years, our public water fountains were discarded and neglected, whilst single-use plastic waste soared. We’re determined to reverse that trend and help deliver hundreds more free public fountains in the capital for everyone to enjoy.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ”For many years, our public water fountains were discarded and neglected, whilst single-use plastic waste soared. We’re determined to reverse that trend and help deliver hundreds more free public fountains in the capital for everyone to enjoy.
“There is a real appetite for refilling and I want Londoners to lead the way in topping up on tap water when we’re on the move. This great new fund will significantly boost the number of public fountains in some of the busiest places across London from next spring. The fountains we’ve already delivered this year are attracting thousands of visitors and helping people make small but important changes in reducing plastic consumption.”
Thames Water will take care of installation, maintenance, cleaning and repairs to ensure the fountains are clean and safe to use for all Londoners.
Steve Robertson, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “Nurturing and protecting the environment is a core mission for Thames Water and we are proud of the high quality of our tap water. By making it even more accessible for Londoners on the move we can together limit the use of millions of single-use plastic bottles which sadly end up in landfill or in our rivers and oceans.”
The Mayor also supports Refill London, which has so far recruited more than 2,000 London shops, businesses, venues and cafes including Costa, Tate Modern, BFI Imax and Leon to provide free tap water to members of the public and is a partnership between City to Sea, Mayor of London and Thames Water.