Consumer Group SumOfUs Welcomes London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Initial Proposal to Roll Out Water Fountains and Bottle Refill Points Across the City to Cut Plastic Waste

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December 06, 2017

But SumOfUs and Water for London say the Move By City Hall To Identify Suitable Locations for Water Fountains in New or Redeveloped Public Spaces Only Does Not Go Far Enough

This week, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a new plan to roll out a city-wide network of water fountains and bottle-refill stations to curb plastic waste and single-use plastic water bottles use. The Mayor's announcement also includes a proposal to develop a pilot program in which businesses would make their tap water available to the public—similar to a scheme launched in Bristol two years ago. But the proposals in the Mayor’s ‘blueprint for London’ limits the ambition to new or redeveloped public spaces only.

SumOfUs and Water for London are calling for the Mayor of London to be bold and ambitious in tackling the issue of single-use-plastic by creating a public network of water refill stations across London. Last month, on the final day of consultation on the London Environment Strategy, SumOfUs in partnership with Water for London delivered a petition with over 17,000 signatures to City Hall calling for the installation of drinking water points in London’s tube, train, and overground stations as well as along key walking and cycling routes, to help curb London’s plastic pollution crisis and improve Londoners’ health.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/sadiq-khan-plastic-water-fountains-london

“Carrying a refillable water bottle to cut plastic waste becomes a meaningless act if people do not have public access to tap water, and buying yet another plastic bottle becomes the only option,” said Sondhya Gupta, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs. “Londoners drink more plastic bottled water than the national average, yet recycling rates are lower—leaving the city with a massive single-use plastic bottle problem. While we welcome the Mayor’s initial proposals, restricting access to free water in new or redeveloped public spaces only does not go far enough in stemming the tide of plastic waste that is blighting our waterways, or tackling the health crisis of Londoners. We call Sadiq Khan to take heed of the concerns of thousands of citizens and move to a truly ambitious network of fountains that will be accessible to all Londoners”.

“Water should be freely and publicly available to those that live, work and play in London” said Will Routh, Founder of the Water for London Campaign. “The TfL network is an asset to London, which would be greatly enhanced by the provision of public water refill points - it would provide a clear, obvious and publicly accessible place all over London where everyone could go to refill their water bottle”. This position is backed up by Yougov research that shows that 62% of people would drink more tap water if it was more readily available but only 10% feel comfortable asking for a bottle to be refilled in a café or shop if they haven’t bought anything. Providing water refill points at transport hubs is also a key recommendation of both the London Assembly Environment Committee report (April 2017) and a recent Keep Britain Tidy and Centre for Social Innovation Report.

For more information, or for interview with a SumOfUs or Water for London spokesperson, please contact Yasmina Dardari at yasmina@unbendablemedia.com.

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SumOfUs is a global consumer group that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable. Over 10 million people have taken over 50 million actions worldwide with SumOfUs since it launched.

Water for London is calling for a network of water fountains to be in installed across London, to give Londoners and visitors to the city better access to water and cut down on the use of plastic bottles.