Lambeth air pollution to be tackled with £1000 social enterprise funding

Lambeth’s soaring levels of air pollution are set to be tackled thanks to £1000 funding from a social enterprise.

London-based Mapping for Change has awarded the funds to Lambeth’s Green Party to help improve air quality in the borough.

Vauxhall’s Green party candidate and air quality campaigner for the Lambeth Green Party, Gulnar Hasnain, explained that the party hopes to utilise the money to give schools the chance to monitor air pollution.

She said: “Pollution poses great risks to Lambeth school children and it is our aim to empower schools to show the extent of the damage caused by air pollution.”

Many schools within the borough are situated near to traffic-laden roads where the majority of the air pollutants come from.

Figures show that Brixton Road has already exceeded its Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) hourly limit for the whole 2015 period.

Mrs Hasnain said: “Brixton Road has already exceeded the EU annual for all of 2015 in terms of NO2 pollution.

“Last year as well, Brixton Road managed to exceed the same limit far worse than any other site in the whole of London.”

EU laws state that towns and cities are only allowed to have 18 hours of ‘bad air’ per year where pollution levels can exceed certain levels.

For NO2, the limit is 200 ug/m3 – micrograms per cubic metre – and Brixton Road, Putney High Street and Oxford Street have already exceeded their 2015 quotas.

The figures are supported by Clean Air in London, a campaign group which aims to combat pollution in the capital and further afield.

Founder and director Simon Birkett said: “Leading scientists believe that many roads in central London will tend to have the highest NO2 concentrations in the world.

“The mayor has taken a succession of backward steps on his proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) since announcing the plan two years ago.

Launching a public consultation on the issue last October, Boris Johnson explained that combating such emissions was essential to protect the public’s health.

He said: “Introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone is an essential measure to improve London’s air quality and reduce NO2 .

“Safeguarding Londoners’ health and well-being is a top priority for my administration.

“I understand that people need adequate time to switch to greener vehicles and help is at hand for those who will be hardest hit, but let’s be clear, we need to make these important changes ASAP to continue to improve Londoners’ quality of life and give everyone who lives in or visits the city the cleanest possible air to breathe.”

Boris Johnson announced the plans for the ULEZ in February 2013, which would be in place by 2020.

The ambitious plan would see that only vehicles that are low or zero emission would be operational during working hours in order to combat pollution in Central London.

Picture courtesy of Sharon Langridge, with thanks

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