Council cover up over air pollution risk to Lambeth’s schools

21 July 2014

Lambeth’s Labour council has deleted references to over 100 annual deaths in Lambeth linked to air pollution, Lambeth’s breech of Nitrogen dioxide levels, as well as the risk that Lambeth schools face from poor air quality (1).  It also removes concrete commitments to action.

A motion put forward by the Green Party for Lambeth’s full Council meeting on 23rd July has been amended by Labour’s cabinet member for the Environment, Cllr Jenny Braithwaite (2).  The amendments remove references to:

- The 112 annual deaths in Lambeth linked to air pollution, estimated by Public Health England in April 2014

- Dozens of Lambeth schools which lie within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 vehicles a day, whose children are at risk from air pollution

- Lambeth Council incineration of waste

Lambeth Labour has also deleted references to a whole series of measures which could improve Lambeth’s air quality, including informing Lambeth’s schools about the risks their children face, and putting low-cost ‘diffusion tubes’ outside schools to measure air quality, as other boroughs have done. (3)

Two years ago, the Green Party exposed how Lambeth Council had opted out of the London Air Quality Network, meaning that data was no longer published about Lambeth’s air quality levels (4). This forced Lambeth to opt back in.

Green Party councillor Scott Ainslie said:
 “It is now clear that Lambeth Council are not taking their responsibility seriously toward air pollution. They are instead seeking to pass the buck.  Not only that, but the council is deliberately proposing measures to withhold important information from residents about air quality and the risk that pollution poses to children at Lambeth schools. 

“Lambeth could introduce some very simple measures as others boroughs have done.  But amending this motion on air quality means that the Council will not commit to informing schools, it won’t commit to measures pollution levels outside schools, and it won’t commit even to reviewing its incineration of waste.”



For further information contact Jonathan Bartley on 07771 598 097.

1. An interactive map showing Lambeth schools which lie close to busy main roads and at risk from air quality is available here:

2. The Green Party motion (number 4) and Labour’s amendments can be viewed here:

3. Measures to tackle air pollution contained in the Green Party motion include a 20mph borough-wide speed limit, more greening of streets and roads, safer cycling routes, more hybrid buses on routes through Lambeth, ultra low emission zones.  Other measures include more ‘car-free’ days, improved public transport links and ‘green-screening’.  

4. See:

5. Research by the Green Party in 2012 showed that air pollution levels in residential streets were running at 90% of levels on busy main roads :

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