Ask the Mayor to clean up Camberwell's air

We are calling on the Mayor of London and Transport for London to  replace buses on all routes passing through Camberwell Green with hybrid, hydrogen or electric buses by 2018. This is not just about Camberwell! Cleaning up the 15 dirty diesel bus routes will be good for the health of people all along those routes: in Elephant and Castle, Walworth, Vauxhall, Oval, Brixton, Herne Hill, Forest Hill and so on...

Southwark Green Party's recent monitoring of nitrogen dioxide pollution around Camberwell Green has shown that annual levels at the bus stops outside Butterfly Walk/McDonalds on Denmark Hill are more than twice the legal EU limit. The monitor outside McDonalds measured 84 micrograms per cubic metre, while the legal EU limit is 40.

Camberwell Green is a busy high street and major bus interchange, with 15 bus routes and hundreds of people waiting there at all hours of the day. Among those exposed to these extremely high levels of pollution are the most vulnerable members of our community: young children, older people and patients attending appointments at King’s College Hospital, including pregnant women and people with pre-existing respiratory and heart conditions.

Of the 20 nitrogen dioxide monitors installed by Southwark Green Party around the borough, only two were below the EU limit. The 11 monitors placed outside shops, cafés and schools around the Camberwell Green junction  were all far above the EU limit. This new evidence suggests that shopping or changing buses at Camberwell Green is a serious and acute health hazard, with a huge cumulative impact on the health of local residents.

We welcome the Mayor’s proposal to introduce 12 Low Emission Bus Zones. One of these zones is identified as ‘Camberwell to New Cross’, but these zones will not be completed until 2020. The Mayor’s proposal also only deals with buses on one axis of this polluted junction. We want to see buses on the routes from Elephant and Castle to Brixton and Dulwich cleaned up too. This would make  the highly polluted corridors of Walworth Road, Camberwell New Road, Peckham Road and Coldharbour Lane healthier places to live.

Camberwell residents cannot wait until 2020 for action. A child born at King’s College Hospital and growing up in Camberwell today is exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution, putting them at risk of asthma, allergies, cognitive and behavioural problems and stunted lung development, leading to lifelong health problems.

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How can I protect myself from air pollution?


  1. Walk or cycle instead of driving – pollution levels can be higher inside a car than on the street because the ventilation intake is close to the exhaust of the cars in front and fumes build up inside a closed car.  And it helps cut emissions too.
  2. Choose a low pollution route. Back routes can have 50% less particulate pollution. Use sites like Breathe London to plan a route
  3. If your workplace or school is near a main road, ask the building supervisors how air pollution is minimised. If there’s air conditioning, are the filters effective ones?
  4. When shopping, close the door – it keeps the heat in and pollution out.
  5. At home, make sure gas boilers and heaters are serviced regularly. If you have fires in an open fireplace, check that you are buying ‘smokeless’ coal, not ‘traditional’ or ‘house’ coal. It’s illegal to burn house coal in London – and it’s bad for the health of people inside the room as well as outside. Check that any woodburners are approved for Smoke Control Areas. It’s also illegal to burn logs on open fires.

Below: It's illegal to burn 'traditional' House Coal - 'smoke-free' briquettes are a happier choice


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Respond to Southwark's air pollution plan

Our first thoughts on the plan are below and the full text of our submitted response is here. Below is some text you can borrow and adapt, along with some examples of actions for the council to take.

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Southwark - please do more to tackle air pollution!

Traffic on Dog Kennel Hill SE22.jpgAir pollution is a recognised public health emergency. Southwark Council needs to take action. Or rather, actions. There’s no one solution, but the actions taken need to be both immediate and substantial.

Southwark is consulting on its updated air quality plan. Responses need to be in by 31 January. Southwark Green Party will submit a detailed response and publish it here.  But in short – we think the plan talks a lot about meetings and monitoring and not enough about ideas and action!

We encourage you to respond individually. It’s a very simple form - the one question is quite open: ‘What do you have to say about the Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan?’ So why not use this space to explain to the council how air pollution affects you and why you want the council to do more? Please copy your response to us too at

Read on for some suggestions about what councils can do…


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Campaigning on air pollution in 2012

It should be ancient history... but it isn't yet!

In July 2012, Southwark Green Party members made a deputation to Southwark Council calling for urgent action on air pollution. Southwark News reported...



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Ask the Mayor to take action for clean air

Southwark Green Party has responded to the TfL consultation on measures like the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to combat air pollution and improve health. Southwark residents are exposed to some of the highest levels of pollution in London - so this affects us all. What do we want the Mayor to do?

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No New Runways

On Thursday 22 December, Southwark Green Party member Tom Venner-Woodcock will appear at Ealing Magistrates Court. He was part of a group of 15 people who blockaded a road near Heathrow last month. His protest highlights the serious risks that airport expansion poses to Londoners' health and the global climate.

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Air Pollution Campaign

Southwark Green Party has been lobbying Southwark Council to take action on air pollution since 2011.

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SGP response to Old Kent Road Area Action Plan


In November 2016, Southwark Green Party responded to Southwark Council's proposals for the Old Kent Road. We will be keeping a watching brief on plans for the area and working with local residents and businesses. The full response is below.

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