- 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.
- Choose a low pollution route. Back routes can have 50% less particulate pollution. Use sites like Breathe London to plan a route
- 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?
- When shopping, close the door – it keeps the heat in and pollution out.
- 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
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.
Air 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Read on for some suggestions about what councils can do…
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...
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?
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.
Southwark Green Party has been lobbying Southwark Council to take action on air pollution since 2011.
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.