Air that's fit to breathe

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Pollution monitors placed around Southwark by local Green Party members have repeatedly recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide at more than twice the legal EU and World Health Organisation limits.

Air pollution causes premature deaths and suffering through diseases such as asthma, lung and heart disease. It has been linked to dementia and diabetes and to permanent stunting of children's lungs, leading to lifelong health problems. Thousands more deaths, reduced quality of life and increased cost to the NHS can be attributed to the diseases of inactivity - diseases that can be tackled by making walking and cycling safe and attractive.

Southwark Green Party is campaigning for:

Latest articles about our air quality campaigning

Read on for news about Southwark Green Party's campaigning for air that's fit to breathe.

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The playground of Goose Green Primary School in East Dulwich is full of activity: there’s a water area where children can create rushing rivers or meandering streams and a music station with percussion and wind instruments, as well as plenty of joyful running about for no apparent reason. But the playground is adjacent to a very busy road carrying 5 bus routes, a main route between Camberwell and the South Circular. It’s one of 1,148 schools in London within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 or more vehicles per day.

In 2017, David Jennings and Eleanor Margolies, members of Southwark Green Party, measured nitrogen dioxide levels outside the school as part of an area-wide study.

Measuring_tube.jpgWalworth’s air contains levels of a harmful pollutant which greatly exceed European and World Health Organisation standards, shows new research by Southwark Green Party.

Laboratory analysis of air samples taken by local Green parliamentary candidate John Tyson last autumn found nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels at Bricklayers Arms (where New Kent Road, Old Kent Road and Tower Bridge Road meet) were nearly double the EU limit. Studies have shown that excessive NO2 worsens shortness of breath, coughing and lung inflammation, particularly for people with asthma.

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It’s crucial the Mayor knows that we care about breathing clean healthy air. His plans for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) leave Londoners in the outer boroughs with the weakest protections against air pollution from vehicles. And the current area proposed for the ULEZ (in red on the right - click to enlarge) doesn’t even include all of Southwark! 

The plans could make the roads around the South Circular even more polluted and congested as people try to avoid paying by skirting around the ULEZ. We are replying to the consultation on behalf of Southwark Green Party, and you can add your voice to show the Mayor that Londoners want him to take strong action on air pollution.

Please ask the Mayor to:

  1. Make the expanded ULEZ London-wide
  2. Apply the standards to all vehicles not just lorries, buses and coaches
  3. Introduce the ULEZ by 2020.

[Take the 5-min survey...] If you prefer, you can write with your comments c/o Freepost TfL Consultations. Deadline: 28 February 2018.

(Question 5 is the most important - say that the area MUST be larger. In question 6, ask that this comes in sooner.)

Eleanor calls for cleaner buses and a zero emission delivery scheme

Clean_air_petition.jpgLocal people have been telling us they are worried about air pollution and want fewer cars and trucks passing through their streets. Southwark Green Party measured nitrogen dioxide pollution. It was more than twice the legal limit in Camberwell, and way above the legal limit outside many local schools.

Eleanor Margolies says: "This is an urgent health issue. Over 500 people signed our petition to ask the Mayor of London to clean up dirty diesel buses. And Southwark Council needs to take action too. The council should:

  • Keep long-distance traffic to main roads, not residential streets
  • Support zero emission delivery schemes
  • Tell drivers how they can help by turning engines off when they stop for a minute or more."

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Southwark Council is consulting on the status of Camberwell Grove. The road goes over the railway via a bridge, just south of the junction with McNeil Road. This bridge has been closed to all motor traffic since October 2016, due to structural failure.

The council website says: 'Repairs to the bridge will soon be completed by Network Rail, which will allow it to be reopened for small motor vehicles (under 3 tonne) with traffic lights allowing alternate one-way flows to cater for both north and south-bound traffic'. The council wants to hear your views before taking a final decision on reopening the bridge. The consultation page is here (closing Monday 30 October).

We encourage Southwark residents to respond. Read on for our comments.

Last week, Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell delivered on our behalf our petition to the Mayor, asking for buses through Camberwell Green to be replaced with electric, hydrogen or hybrid buses. The petition got 525 signatures in total (online and on paper). Thanks to everyone who signed, tweeted and helped collect signatures - 

The South London Press also published the results of our nitrogen dioxide monitoring. Out of 20 sites, only two were within the legal limit - and one of these, Camberwell Grove, has no through traffic at the moment.

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Camberwell_Green_stock_image.jpgOverview: Some of the elements are genuinely useful. We support the new pedestrian crossing between Camberwell Passage and the Green, and the repositioning of the St Giles bus stop, to improve sight-lines.

But the plans offer far too little to improve safety. We cannot see that it is worthwhile doing this 'interim' work at great cost when it offers so little. We urge TfL to withdraw the plans and replace them with plans that consider Camberwell as a town centre with shops and community services, and consider how people actually need to move around it on foot or on bike. This is an essential step in tackling the current dangers of the junction as well as the wider public health emergency of air pollution.

We all know the strain of travelling through noisy, polluted streets and the worry it causes when journeys are delayed. But shifting away from the most polluting forms of transport takes political action.

That’s why we are asking the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to put cleaner buses on the 17 routes that run through Camberwell: www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-cleanair-for-camberwell.

Neither the Mayor nor Southwark Council goes nearly far enough in their plans to tackle traffic fumes. We need politicians who are prepared to face up to the reality of the air pollution crisis that is killing 9,500 Londoners a year and stunting the lungs of children. This public health crisis needs action now. We can’t wait till 2040!

Photo: Eleanor puts up a diffusion tube monitor in Peckham

We are demanding cleaner buses after our tests found pollution levels in Southwark more than double legal limit. We have  launched a petition demanding London Mayor Sadiq Khan take action this year to clean up every bus driving through Camberwell Green.

Pollution monitors placed around Southwark by local members recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide at more than twice the legal EU limit outside McDonalds on Denmark Hill. Just two of the 20 locations monitored for the full month of February fell within the legal limit.

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.

[See all articles related to this campaign...]


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  • published this page in Campaigns 2018-02-20 17:06:32 +0000