Cleaner Air Market

Piloting a future model for public markets

The image shows the logos of six organisations who will pilot a cleaner air market at Maltby Street in London. The project team comprises a mix of sustainable transport and clean air organisations including (from top left to bottom right); Mums for Lungs, Fare City, Clean Cities Campaign, Pedal Me, Maltby Street Market and Wheels for Wellbeing
The CAM will be delivered by an alliance of sustainable transport and clean air organisations. (Image: Mums for Lungs, Fare City, Clean Cities Campaign, Pedal Me, Maltby Street Market, Wheels for Wellbeing)

Fare City and our project partners are excited to confirm that we will be piloting a Cleaner Air Market (CAM) in 2022. Kindly funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport, this will be a future model for public markets whereby goods for sale, market traders and market infrastructure are brought to an existing London market using a combination of cargo bikes, cycles, and some electric vehicles.

To deliver the project, we’ve teamed up with Bermondsey-based Maltby Street Market, a sustainably run hot food market selling high quality street food from a range of startups and star traders. Together, the project team aims to demonstrate that a working market can viably decarbonise its complex supply chains, reduce its contribution to local air pollution, and create a more accessible, equitable and sustainable market experience for the benefit of traders, attendees and the local community. The project is designed to be scalable, replicable and above all, impactful.

The image shows two scenes of Maltby Street Market. The image on the left shows a busy street with customers, traders and their stalls stretching into the distance. Overhead, flags are suspended from wires which are attached to a railway viaduct to the left and a building to the right. The image to the right shows a similar scene but looking from the opposite direction, with the railway viaduct to the right of the image. In the foreground are trader gazebos and A-boards, one is advertising cocktails.
Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey, London, will be the site of the first Cleaner Air Market.
(Image: (L) The Barrel Project & (R) Darren Massey)

Why is the Cleaner Air Market needed?

The ubiquity of public markets in cities, towns and villages across the UK makes them an integral part of civic life. From city centre food markets to out-of-town farmers markets and everything in between, public markets are the lifeblood of many communities – with over 100 permanent and periodic markets in London alone. Aside from facilitating commerce via the exchange of goods, markets have traditionally offered wider communal and wellbeing benefits, including serving as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

However, the proximity of markets to the public also means that harmful emissions from trader’s car and van trips create air pollution, which can negatively impact local communities. The project team’s research suggests that even the smallest markets have complex supply chains which require hundreds of journeys to service them. Replacing even a fraction of these trips via sustainable modes – initially at Maltby Street Market but then potentially at markets throughout the UK – would result in appreciable health, wellbeing, and economic gains for all.

How will the Cleaner Air Market aim to achieve this?

The CAM aims to demonstrate that cargo bikes and other sustainable modes of transport can reduce dependency on polluting cars and vans at a working market. Specifically, the CAM will aim to:

• Sustainably decarbonise the market’s transport supply chains, using cargo bikes, cycles and zero tail-pipe emission modes of transport (e.g. electric vans).
• Demonstrate that markets can decarbonise while continuing to run undisrupted.
• Reduce the market’s contribution to local air pollution and reduce congestion on market days.
• Raise awareness of the potential of cargo bikes and cycles to replace petrol and diesel cars and vans, for transporting goods and people.
• Identify and recommend how markets can improve accessibility for all users, specifically those using non-standard cycles.

The project team will use both quantitative and qualitative research methods to determine the impact of the project, which we will share with our stakeholders via a range of media including articles, reports, podcasts and videos. Using an evidence-led approach will enable the team to establish the principles of a cleaner air market which may then be scaled up and/or replicated by other markets across the UK.

The image shows two images of Pedal Me cargo bikes and trailers. The image to the left shows a fully loaded cargo bike and trailer with beer kegs stacked neatly on one another. The cargo bike is on a road in the foreground, a red brick building and trees are in the background. The image to the right shows a small trailer loaded with boxes of apples. The trailer is in the foreground and two cars are in the background.
Cargo bike logistics firm, Pedal Me, will deliver the majority of goods to site on market day (Image: Pedal Me)

Who will deliver the Cleaner Air Market and who will it benefit?

The project team will work collaboratively with traders to help them to replace their car and van trips with sustainable modes of transport. Cargo bike logistics company, Pedal Me, will courier goods, equipment and personnel to and from the site on market days. Inclusive cycling charity, Wheels for Wellbeing, will advise market management on how it can improve market day accessibility, while clean air organisations – Clean Cities Campaign and Mums for Lungs – will use their clean air expertise to advise the project team, engage traders and the public and to disseminate project findings.

The CAM aims to benefit a range of stakeholders, including market traders, customers and those living in the local area. The CAM may empower market traders to switch to more sustainable and affordable modes of transport, while providing more accessible stalls may encourage new customers to attend and purchase their goods. Market day attendees can learn about clean air initiatives via workshops and demonstrations, while they may prefer to support more sustainable businesses. The project team are looking forward to engaging with the local community who will be consulted throughout the project and who will benefit from reduced market day vehicular emissions, noise, and congestion.

When will the Cleaner Air Market be held?

We will conduct trader trials in Spring 2022 with the aim of piloting the market in Summer 2022. If you would like to learn more about the project or contribute to its development, we would love to hear from you. We will be providing further updates in the months ahead and look forward to welcoming you to Maltby Street and the Cleaner Air Market this summer.

The image shows an old wooden trailer painted green with red spoke wheels. The trailer is being used to advertise Maltby Street Market as there is a white banner draped across it reading 'Welcome to Maltby Street Market'. The trailer is positioned against a yellow brick wall.
(Image: Maltby Street Market)

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