21 May 2015
Lambeth Green Party’s call for more cross party action on air pollution has finally met with success at last night’s Lambeth Council meeting, after a local air pollution monitoring study revealed NO2 levels across Streatham are exceeding the EU safe limits by up to 100%. (1) This figure further substantiates Lambeth’s poor track record in tackling this issue, resulting in its “Cleaner Air Borough” status, which means it qualifies for extra funds to clean up its act.
The Green Party wants a new council transport group to work to introduce a series of measures to tackle air quality including cleaning up the Council's own vehicle fleet, (2) and ending its incineration of waste.
At last night's council meeting councillors voted to support a Green Party amendment urging the Council to push TfL for Hybrid/Electric buses on routes through Streatham and Brixton after TfL admitted that south London’s transport network had been overlooked. The Council also announced action to tackle engine idling, in response to a question from Green Party Councillor Scott Ainslie. (3)
As part of an ongoing campaign by Lambeth Green Party, air quality campaigners used funding from Mapping for Change (4) to undertake an Air Quality Mapping project. The pilot study used a series of diffusion tubes, set across a chosen area in Streatham to measure NO2 levels.
The area was divided into grid squares to ensure sufficient coverage. There were 15 monitoring sites in total. After a period of four weeks the diffusion tubes were collected and analysed. The results are available to view at http://new.communitymaps.org.uk/#/project/26?center=51.4926:-0.0625:12&layer=1
Lambeth, known by many as London’s dirtiest borough, has some of the highest pollution levels in London. Brixton Road exceeded the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hourly limit value more times than any other site in London last year, and has already exceeded the EU annual target for ALL of 2015. (5).
It is estimated that there are over 100 deaths in Lambeth each year linked to air pollution. A report by The University of Edinburgh links short-term exposure to air pollution with a higher risk of stroke. Scientists say even short-term spikes in pollution were mirrored by a rise in strokes. (6)
Lambeth Green Party air quality campaigner Gulnar Hasnain said: “With every passing day, we hear further evidence that air pollution is seriously damaging health, particularly for older people and children. In the world's sixth most developed economy clean air should be a given, not something we have to campaign for."
Councillor Scott Ainslie said: "Finally, the Lambeth Green Party's years of campaigning for Cleaner Air is finally being heard by the Council. Last night in the chamber there was a themed debate on how Lambeth builds a sustainable, green and effective transport system. We agreed to work cross party on securing more hybrid electric buses, preventing engine idling as well as improved provision for cyclists and pedestrians in order to bring down the dangerous levels of NO2 along Lambeth's busiest roads. We must now ensure actions with a clear timetable are put in place for delivery and no more delays."