Portobello Road Market banning cars for good to let shoppers breathe cleaner air


The tourist destination in Notting Hill is one of the country’s most iconic street markets (Picture: AFP)

Shoppers at one of London’s most famous street markets will be permanently free from choking on car fumes, a council has announced.

Drivers will be unable to access Portobello Road Market during its operating hours, following an experimental trial attempting to reduce emissions during the pandemic.

The move will provide more space and mobility options to shoppers and market holders as well being environmentally friendly, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council.

But not everyone will be impressed with the move in Notting Hill, which makes the temporary restrictions from April 2020 permanent.

It follows an expansion of the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone last month, which some road users criticised for penalising drivers.

There will be exemptions to the car ban at the west London antiques market, including for people who live in the area, those with disabilities and emergency vehicles.

Johnny Thalassites, the council’s lead member for planning, place and the environment, explained: ‘Making the road closure permanent is a great step forward in continuing to improve the experience at Portobello Market as a world-class destination, making it more accessible for visitors and locals with more space to shop and explore.


Shoppers browse at Portobello Road market in Notting Hill, west London on July 31, 2021.

Exemptions to the car ban will apply for people who live in the area, those with disabilities and emergency vehicles (Picture: AFP)

‘Reducing vehicle emissions in the area will also improve air quality for residents and traders. Becoming more environmentally-friendly is something we as a Council (are) dedicated to, with our aim to become net carbon zero by 2030.’

The decision was made following consultation with residents, businesses, traders and the local community.

Dating back to the 19th century, the popular tourist destination is renowned for its antique stalls, vintage clothing and as the setting for the 1999 film Notting Hill.

Portobello Road itself will be closed to traffic from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday and vehicles will not be allowed to access other nearby roads on certain days of the week.

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