By Andrew Woodcock, Press Association
A network of hundreds of free public water fountains is to be installed across London in a bid to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a partnership with Thames Water to support the scheme with a £5 million fund open to councils, businesses, venues and other outlets to help pay for the drinking points.
The scheme aims to reduce the 175 plastic water bottles bought each year by the average adult in the capital.
The first fountains should start appearing in spring 2019, located in shopping centres, museums, business districts and large green spaces and outside busy stations.
Some 20 drinking fountains have been installed over the past year in London, with more than 8,000 litres of drinking water – the equivalent of 16,000 water bottles – dispensed in less than a month from two at Liverpool Street station alone.
Mr 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.”
Thames Water will take care of installation, maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
The company’s chief executive, Steve Robertson, said: “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.”