It is the first of six new drinking fountains for Islington as part of the Mayor of London's Drinking Fountain Fund, run with #OneLess, in partnership with Islington Council.
The fountain stands on the Promenade of Light close to Old Street Roundabout, conveniently located for the thousands of workers, visitors and local residents who walk nearby each day. It was launched today (11 February), with volunteers offering free refillable water bottles to passers-by.
The new fountains are part of Islington Council’s commitment and ongoing work to cut the use of single-use plastic in the borough. Globally, it is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year, where it harms animals, damages the environment, and enters the human food chain.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “Drinking fountains are win-win – they help people cut down on plastic waste, and also help people to get free water - a healthy alternative to sugary drinks - when they are out and about.
“We’re determined to take action to help cut single-use plastics, which are so harmful for our environment. This new drinking fountain, in this busy location at the heart of Old Street, is our first on the public highway, and will serve thousands of local residents, workers and visitors to our city, and help to cut plastic waste.”
“It is the first of six new fountains for Islington thanks to funding from the Mayor of London. Islington’s six new water fountains are a vital part of our ongoing commitment and work to reducing plastic waste, especially single-use plastic.”
Islington Council successfully bid for money from the London Drinking Fountain Fund to pay for the drinking fountains, and all the locations were assessed by the #OneLess campaign, led by Zoological Society of London (ZSL), on accessibility, visibility and access to water – making water refills available for as many Londoners as possible.
Fiona Llewellyn, Project Manager of the #OneLess campaign and Senior Project Manager of Marine and Freshwater Conservation at ZSL (Zoological Society of London) said: “This new public fountain will make it easier for Londoners to keep hydrated on the go without using single-use plastic water bottles - one of the most prominent items of plastic litter in both the River Thames and coastlines around the UK.
“We are delighted to be working with the London Borough of Islington on this exciting initiative to reduce the plastic blight on the ocean and firmly establish London as a city that no longer uses plastic bottled water.”
The London Drinking Fountain Fund was established in 2018 by the Mayor of London, MIW Water Cooler Experts, and #OneLess - a campaign led by the Zoological Society of London, to reduce single-use plastic water bottles in the capital and tackle ocean plastic pollution. This fountain was donated by this fund, and the council paid for installation and water connection.
City Hall, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: “Water fountains are a simple but effective way to encourage Londoners and visitors to switch from plastic bottles to reusable ones. Demand is greater than ever for quick and easy ways of accessing free drinking water and I’m pleased see these fountains now appearing in public spaces across London. They’re already proving popular and City Hall is working on plans to install many more to benefit both thirsty Londoners and the environment.”
Islington’s other new drinking fountains will be installed during 2019. New fountains at St John’s Gardens, Benjamin Street, EC1M 5QL and Highbury Fields, Highbury Crescent, N5 1RN will be opened shortly, with further fountains to follow at Archway (Navigator Square), Islington Green and Clerkenwell Green.
As well as using public drinking fountains, you can find local cafes, restaurants and other places to refill your water bottle by using the Refill app.