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.

If you want more action on air pollution, take 5 minutes to tell the council so

The consultation on the Southwark air quality plan is quick and easy to answer, with just one comment box. We suggest you make two points: 1) call for more action overall and 2) describe how the council could help you to reduce emissions and carbon consumption. The link is here:

Two sentences are fine! It all helps.


[Part 1 of your response]
The plan is not strong enough. It does not give details of the actions the council will take. It does not give timescales, goals or details of how improvements will be measured.

I am very concerned about the early deaths (more than 9,000 a year) and the ill health caused by exacerbated asthma, heart and lung disease.

I am horrified at the thought that a whole generation of Southwark children are going to suffer life-long consequences of growing up in a soup of nitrogen dioxides and particulate matter. A 10% permanent reduction in children’s lung development will cause complex health problems later in life.

I am angry that health advice suggests that children and older people reduce their physical activity. This may be the right response to the immediate emergency of a pollution episode but it is disastrous in terms of wider public health goals to reduce obesity and promote physical and mental health.

I call on Southwark Council to take real, substantial steps to cut air pollution.

[Part 2 of your response. Here, give details of how pollution affects your life and health and what measures the council could use to help you. Here are four to start you off – your own example will be the most effective.]

[Example 1] I would like to take my children [insert age] to school by cycle. It is not far but the junction at [insert details here] feels too dangerous for us to cross. Please include in this plan details of road improvements (protected cycle lanes and safer junctions) to make it safe and easy to cycle to all Southwark schools.

[Example 2] I live in a 1930s block of flats on the [insert details] estate. The bill to heat the flat in winter is very high [insert estimate]. Please include in this plan details of how you will insulate council properties to reduce fuel consumption and consequent emissions from domestic heating.

[Example 3] I walk to work along [name of major road]. I suffer from [asthma/COPD] which is noticeably worse on high pollution days. Please include in this plan details of how you will reduce pollution from Southwark Council’s activities by changing the fleet to diesel free and electric vehicles; training drivers to turn off engines when stopped; and enforcing anti-idling legislation for members of the public and delivery vehicles.

[Example 4] I live on a side street which should be quiet but is used as a rat run by dozens of delivery vans an hour. Please include in this plan details of how you can reduce emissions from deliveries by setting up freight consolidation centres, setting up a cargo bike delivery scheme for public and business use and ensuring Southwark and its subcontractors use zero carbon delivery services.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Southwark Council. Please copy your response to [email protected] so we can make sure the message is heard more widely. We won’t use your name or identifying details.

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