Sadiq Khan blames July heatwave for 'dramatic drop' in footfall across London

The Mayor of London said that footfall dropped significantly when temperatures surpassed 40C

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London’s economy was hit by the July heatwave as the number of workers and visitors to the capital plunged, Sadiq Khan has said.

The Mayor of London said that footfall dropped significantly when temperatures surpassed 40C (104F) for the first time in London and the UK’s history on July 19.

Mr Khan revealed that on Monday July 19 there were 385,640 daytime workers when 518,000 workers would usually be expected.

Meanwhile, only 275,000 daytime visitors came to central London on the same day when about 361,000 people would be expected. This equates to just 76% of June 2022 footfall.

Speaking to the Reuters IMPACT Conference in London on Monday, he said: “For the first time ever, London overheated.

“Vicious wildfires almost overwhelmed emergency services – the busiest day of the year for the London fire brigade since the Second World War.

Sadiq Khan says homes were destroyed as a result of the heatwave.
Sadiq Khan says homes were destroyed as a result of the heatwave.

“Homes were destroyed. And infrastructure was crippled by extreme heat.

“We also saw a dramatic drop in footfall across central London to the detriment of our businesses.”

He continued: “When we look back at this period of history, no-one will be able claim with any credibility that we were not given fair warning – that we could not see disaster bearing down on us.”

Mr Khan called for private-sector investment to help meet London’s net zero target of 2030.

The mayor told business leaders at the conference that London needs to go “much further, much faster” and an estimated £75 billion worth of investment is needed to reach the target.

He said: “Our success rests on collaboration – on all of us working in unison for a better tomorrow.

“It’s in this spirit I’ve sought to engage with London’s business community.

“But to meet our 2030 net zero target, London will need to go much further, much faster.

Sadiq Khan says footfall in London fell significantly during the heatwave in July.
Sadiq Khan says footfall in London fell significantly during the heatwave in July.

“Our estimate puts the figure in excess of £75 billion worth of investment.

“We simply can’t deliver that without the private sector, without you.

“Of course, I know you’re all dealing with inflationary pressures right now, but there are huge opportunities and rewards to be seized by accelerating our efforts to achieve net zero by 2030.”

The Mayor of London said his Green New Deal has spearheaded record investments in green jobs, skills and infrastructure in the capital.

Mr Khan also said that under his leadership, the capital has delivered a fivefold increase in protected cycling lanes, put more electric and hydrogen powered buses on roads, cleaned up the taxi fleet and delivered hundreds of new electric vehicle charging points.

He then took a swipe at Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Government’s mini-budget policies which have prompted criticism over their potential impact on the UK’s environment and wildlife.

Mr Khan said: “My promise to you today is this: while the doors of Whitehall might be closing to climate action, the doors of City Hall will remain wide open for as long as I’m in office.”

PA has contacted the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs for comment.