Along with over 400 Londoners, community groups and businesses, Southwark Green Party has signed a letter initiated by campaigning group Mums for Lungs to unite local councils in the fight for clean air.
The letter urges local councils to apply for the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund in a bid to protect children from illegal levels of air pollution by working collaboratively to address 'idling' – stationary cars with their engines running. The letter was sent to Lambeth, Southwark, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Islington, Camden, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Bromley, Barnet, Lewisham, Ealing, Hounslow, Haringey, Croydon and Merton councils.
Jemima Hartshorn, founder of Mums for Lungs, the voluntary parent group behind the initiative, says “Air pollution is killing around 10,000 Londoners prematurely every year and contributing to the ill health of many more. Children are the worst affected. All levels of government need to come together and tackle this public health crisis.”
Mums for Lungs’ letter asks the local councils to apply jointly to the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund in order to:
- Set up and run a joint, centralised website and text message number where anyone can report idlers, who will then be sent a letter informing them of the impact and illegality of idling and the more general impact of driving on people’s health
- Change the current idling policies to ensure greater enforceability in a consistent way across London with fines appropriate to the harm it is doing to residents’ health
- Deliver a dedicated communications campaign, for example, by sending each household a leaflet on idling, driving and air pollution with the council tax bill in 2019.
We need a clear message across London to tackle this problem. We applaud Southwark's initiative to increase the fine for idling, but are disappointed that so far there has been little public information about how drivers can avoid causing this completely needless pollution. So we've produced our own information postcard to share with neighbours. Just email email us if you would like some free postcards to share. We will also be following up with our councillors to encourage them to follow up on the lettter from Mums for Lungs and urge them to take part in the cross-London work to tackle idling.