9 January 2017
LAMBETH'S roads have breached annual air pollution limits in the first five days of 2017, prompting the Green Party to call for an urgent timetable of action to tackle the problem from both the London Mayor and Lambeth Council.
Air monitors stationed on Brixton Road recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide in excess of legal limits for more than an hour on 19 occasions by January 5. UK and EU law allow for just 18 such breaches over an entire year.
The Green Party's London Assembly Member Caroline Russell and Lambeth Green councillor Scott Ainslie visited the Brixton Road air monitor where readings of more than twice the legal limit have already been registered this year.
The monitor is part of a system set up by King's College London's London Air Quality Monitoring Network.
"Local residents are being made sick by illegal, highly-polluted air because both successive London mayors and Lambeth Council have not taken this situation seriously. Successive Labour and Tory administrations have been asleep at the wheel," said Green Party Cllr Scott Ainslie.
"There are obvious things that Lambeth Council should be doing to end the reputation of being London’s dirtiest borough. It should be lobbying national government and the London Mayor to improve the number of trains running through Lambeth, to get the dirty, polluting buses and cars off the worst polluted corridor; end its reckless incineration of waste, which blows back dangerous pollution into Lambeth as well as harming those in other boroughs.
"It could issue fines for engine idling. It could raise awareness by putting cheap diffusion tubes around schools to measure air quality. But Labour's complacent councillors have so far refused to do any of them.
"The London mayor too needs to provide us with a clear timetable on how he plans to clean up the air in Lambeth. Further delay just leads to further health problems in our community."
The announcement that Brixton Road had already exceeded its legal number of breaches for the year came in the same week that air pollution and traffic noise were linked to brain degeneration and diseases such as dementia.
"It is absolutely shocking that residents in Brixton are being subjected to breathing frankly dangerous unhealthy air," said Assembly Member Caroline Russell on a visit to Brixton.
She added that she had spoken to one local woman whose son was experiencing increasing breathing difficulties while living near Brixton Road.
"What we need to do is to cut diesel from every part of our transport system, particularly buses," she said.
"We need to make sure that people can get around safely and conveniently on bike and on foot and we need to just cut the overall levels of traffic in our city."
At the next full council meeting on 25 January Lambeth Green Party is asking for the Labour cabinet to come clean on what they have actually done to lobby the Dept for Transport and the London Mayor to improve public transport links along the A23 corridor.