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.

The decision of two out of Southwark's three Labour MPs to vote in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow airport is bitterly disappointing.
Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) and Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) have failed to protect their constituents from increased plane noise and air pollution. Worse still, they have increased the chances of catastrophic global warming in years to come, because an expanded Heathrow will stop the UK from meeting its legally binding targets to avert climate change. 
We congratulate Helen Hayes (MP for Dulwich and West Norwood) on taking a principled and far-sighted stand. But our other elected representatives cannot defend their support for this disastrous project.

Left to right: Barbara Pattinson (SE5 Forum), Eleanor Margolies (Southwark Green Party), Magda Devas (Women's Equality Party, Lambeth), Becca Thackray (Green councillor, Herne Hill ward, Lambeth), Jemima Hartshorn (Mums for Lungs)

Eleanor Margolies and Phil Vabulas from Southwark Green Party were delighted to join a study trip to Walthamstow - to walk around the streets that have been transformed by reducing through motor traffic. The walking tour was led by Paul Gasson of Walthamstow Village Residents' Association, and Dan Kelly, a parent and school governor.

The walk took in streets alongside a primary school where children are now able to walk, scoot and play without fear of constant passing traffic, the largest street market in Europe, new squares for community use and thriving parades of small shops.

One of five newly elected Green councillors in Lambeth, Becca Thackray said the visit was: 'A breath of fresh air to see just what can be achieved, in terms of traffic calming, pollution-lowering, urban greening and improving physical, mental and community health'.

More information from Waltham Forest Council here. The Evening Standard reports here on how traffic has fallen by half as a result of the measures.

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


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