- Walk or cycle instead of driving – pollution levels can be higher inside a car than on the street because the ventilation intake is close to the exhaust of the cars in front and fumes build up inside a closed car. And it helps cut emissions too.
- Choose a low pollution route. Back routes can have 50% less particulate pollution. Use sites like Breathe London to plan a route
- If your workplace or school is near a main road, ask the building supervisors how air pollution is minimised. If there’s air conditioning, are the filters effective ones?
- When shopping, close the door – it keeps the heat in and pollution out.
- At home, make sure gas boilers and heaters are serviced regularly. If you have fires in an open fireplace, check that you are buying ‘smokeless’ coal, not ‘traditional’ or ‘house’ coal. It’s illegal to burn house coal in London – and it’s bad for the health of people inside the room as well as outside. Check that any woodburners are approved for Smoke Control Areas. It’s also illegal to burn logs on open fires.
Picture: It's illegal to burn 'traditional' House Coal - 'smoke-free' briquettes are a happier choice
The strategy acknowledges the severe impact of air pollution on the health of Southwark residents, noting in the introduction that ‘poor air quality disproportionately affects the young, old, ill and poor’ (page 5). But this recognition of the serious public health challenge is not matched by actions.
The plan is not strong or bold enough, and it does not provide enough detail of those actions the council does propose to take. We are dismayed that so many items lack clear targets, timescales, objectives and means of measuring success. This is particularly noticeable in comparison with Southwark’s previous plan which included timescales and indicators for each planned measure (Air Quality Improvement Strategy 2012-2017 and Action Plan 2012-2017 (AQIS 2012)).Read more
Air pollution is a recognised public health emergency. Southwark Council needs to take action. Or rather, actions. There’s no one solution, but the actions taken need to be both immediate and substantial.
Southwark is consulting on its updated air quality plan. Responses need to be in by 31 January. Southwark Green Party will submit a detailed response and publish it here. But in short – we think the plan talks a lot about meetings and monitoring and not enough about ideas and action!
We encourage you to respond individually. It’s a very simple form - the one question is quite open: ‘What do you have to say about the Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan?’ So why not use this space to explain to the council how air pollution affects you and why you want the council to do more? Please copy your response to us too at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read on for some suggestions about what councils can do…Read more
It should be ancient history... but it isn't yet!
In July 2012, Southwark Green Party members made a deputation to Southwark Council calling for urgent action on air pollution. Southwark News reported...
Southwark Green Party has responded to the TfL consultation on measures like the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to combat air pollution and improve health. Southwark residents are exposed to some of the highest levels of pollution in London - so this affects us all. What do we want the Mayor to do?Read more
On Thursday 22 December, Southwark Green Party member Tom Venner-Woodcock will appear at Ealing Magistrates Court. He was part of a group of 15 people who blockaded a road near Heathrow last month. His protest highlights the serious risks that airport expansion poses to Londoners' health and the global climate.Read more
Southwark Green Party has been lobbying Southwark Council to take action on air pollution since 2011.
We've carried out our own air pollution studies and informed residents about how they can reduce the amount of pollution they breathe.
The new Southwark Council air quality webpages bring together some excellent resources and information. But they are a little thin on details of the borough's own initiatives to reduce air pollution. [Note: As this is a new/beta version of the page/section and it may move - here is an alternative link]Read more
About 20 people attended Southwark Green Party’s monthly meet-up on 7 September, which this month was held at John the Unicorn, Peckham Rye. Eleanor Margolies organised an informal quiz on the subject of air pollution – an urgent issue in Southwark, which has the highest rate of premature deaths attributable to air pollution of any London borough. We learntRead more