In early May, Southwark and Lambeth Green Parties welcomed two speakers to the second event in its 'lockdown' speaker programme, Beyond Covid-19.
The topic: Air Quality
The speakers: Rosamund Kissi-Debrah and Diana Varaden.
Rosamund is a health campaigner and World Health Organisation Public Advocate. She set up The Ella Roberta Family Foundation following the death of her daughter Ella in 2013 from a rare and severe form of asthma exacerbated by London’s toxic air. The foundation aims to improve the lives of children affected by asthma in South East London by raising awareness, campaigning for better treatment and for clean air.
Diana Varaden is a researcher at King’s College who specialises in engaging diverse community groups in work on air pollution. Attendees benefited from their complementary contributions on the issue of Air Quality.Read more
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.Read more
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'.
We'd like to spread the word about what individuals can do to protect themselves and tackle air pollution.
With your help, we are going to commission a simple, bold postcard that explains the facts.
We'll produce 20,000 postcards so we can donate them to anyone who wants to give them to friends and neighbours.
Will you help us fund it?
Please make a small donation via this page.
Will you spread the word?
If you'd like to join an anti-idling action in Southwark with other people (training in a friendly, non-confrontational approach will be given!), or receive a pack of postcards to hand out to friends and colleagues, drop us a line on [email protected]
We'll be in touch as soon as the project is funded and the postcards ready!
We are members of the London Clean Air Coalition and we support the Green Party campaign for clean air, including a new Clean Air Act for the 21st century.
Breathing Cities - The Green Party's campaign for Clean Air
Breathe London - run by King's College London Environmental Research Group
Clean Air in London - an incredible source of information and research
Doctors Against Diesel - drawing on their experience of asthma, lung and heart disease
Healthy Air - a good site to start with for the basic facts
Idling Action London - did you know it is against the law to leave engines running when stopped?
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.Read more
Walworth’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.
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:
- Make the expanded ULEZ London-wide
- Apply the standards to all vehicles not just lorries, buses and coaches
- 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
Local 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."
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.Read more