Pollution Levels Worsen on Brixton Road, Despite Lambeth Labour’s Promises

29 August 2018

Following the revelation from the Mums for Lungs campaign group that the Nitrogen Dioxide output levels on Brixton Road have breached accepted limits 83 times so far in 2018 [1], Lambeth Green Party is pressing for stronger leadership on this issue. The legal limit is 18 breaches in one year.


The present total already tops the 75 breaches which occurred throughout the whole of 2017, despite the introduction of the highly promoted clean air bus corridor on the A23 through Brixton and Streatham.

Transport for London believed that the fleet of new vehicles would lead to significant improvements in air quality, as they informed the local pressure group Mums for Lungs earlier this year [2].  In December, Lambeth Labour even predicted that the new buses would reduce harmful emissions by “around 84%”. [3]


When asked for a response to the poor pollution readings at the beginning of 2018, Transport for London suggested that the colder weather was to blame and improvements should be seen throughout the rest of the year. [2]


Lambeth Green Party leader and national Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley responded: “It sometimes feels like Groundhog Day when we talk about pollution in Lambeth. We campaign, we ask for improvements, we are then promised some movement, then the next set of data shows a further deterioration in our air standards.


Over the last year, the much-vaunted clean air bus corridor has often been presented as the solution to most of our complaints. It is now very clear that while the introduction of the new bus fleet was welcome, it was a gross over-simplification to suggest it was any kind of magic bullet.


Pollution is caused by a wide variety of different problems, all of which require attention – councils can choose to get tougher on vehicle engine idling, or offer incentives to local businesses to use environmentally friendlier methods, or reduce the amount of waste they incinerate, and those are just three basic options. Lambeth Labour have shown no drive in this area, and are offering few credible solutions to a growing problem.


We urgently need more imagination, investment and action. The UK has one of the worst records of pollution death of any country in Europe [4], and Lambeth was the second most polluting London borough in 2017 [5]. This is an urgent public health and environmental issue, and it needs to be treated as more than a marginal political consideration”. 



[1] http://www.erg.kcl.ac.uk/weeklysitereport/asrstats.asp?site=LB4&la_id=22&startdate=1-Jan-2018


[2] https://lambeth.greenparty.org.uk/news/2018/04/19/a23-clean-air-bus-corridor-improves-brixton-air-quality-by-less-than-5/


[3] http://www.lambeth-labour.org.uk/major_victory_for_cleaner_air_campaign


[4] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-has-one-of-the-worst-pollution-death-rates-in-europe-major-study-reveals-a3663381.html


[5] http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/2017/11/report-lambeth-is-the-second-worst-borough-in-london-for-air-pollution/



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