Tooting MP Sadiq Khan backs clean air initiative to tackle ‘killer’ air pollution

Wandsworth has the worst air quality in London and is being targeted by Sadiq Khan’s new campaign for cleaner air.

The Tooting MP spoke at the launch of the national campaign for cleaner air, where he advocated giving greater powers to local authorities to improve air quality in their communities.

Wandsworth, already under the most polluted skies in Europe, is of particular concern as it has one of the highest levels of Nitrogen Dioxide and air pollution in London.

Sadiq Khan MP is concerned about air pollution after Public Health England found that air pollution contributes to more than 110 deaths each year in Wandsworth – surpassing the number of deaths caused by obesity and alcohol.

Mr Khan said: “Air pollution in Wandsworth is a real problem and I share local concerns that not enough is being done to tackle it.”

Experts also say that air pollution in London is stunting children’s lung development.

A spokesperson from the Healthy Air Campaign said: “Air pollution is an invisible killer, causing heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease.

“Children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with under-developed lungs, and that’s not acceptable.”

Mr Khan also called for a national framework and the creation of Low Emission Zones to encourage the use of greener vehicles for better air quality.

He said: “If nothing changes, Wandsworth’s air will remain dangerously polluted for at least another 20 years, and the health of thousands of children will be severely affected.

“That’s why I am calling for government action now to support local authorities to tackle this public health crisis.”

Pollution levels are said to be particularly high on Trinity Road and Putney High Street.

It is estimated that over 28,000 deaths per year across the UK are linked to air pollution.

The Healthy Air Campaign concluded: “Sadiq Khan MP is doing the right thing by stepping in to protect the health of local people.”

London was famous for its poor air quality for centuries with domestic coal use causing the deadly thick ‘pea-souper’ fogs.

The great smog of 1952 was a severe pollution event that was estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people over five days.

This tragedy led to changes in industrial practices and to the development of the Clean Air Act.

Featured image courtesy of Leonard Bentley, with thanks

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