Cllr Danny Adilypour is Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air (job-share), and a councillor in Streatham South ward.
Today is Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest campaign day against air pollution, which will see thousands of people across the country participating in events highlighting the damaging impact of poor air quality and demanding action to clean up our air.
Even though the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have limited the nature of the events that can take place this year, the threats posed by toxic air haven’t gone away and in Lambeth we are determined to keep this issue right at the top of our political agenda.
Over recent years there have been some positive signs that air quality is improving in Lambeth – The levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter detected at our three air quality monitoring stations in Lambeth have been declining since 2013, the number of our local state primary and secondary schools which exceed the legal level of nitrogen dioxide has fallen from 19 to 2 between 2016 and 2020 and we’ve introduced a number of local measures such as improved cycling and walking infrastructure, anti-vehicle idling measures, improved electric vehicle charging infrastructure and low traffic neighbourhoods to reduce vehicle usage in residential areas.
But there is still a long way to go. Lambeth still regularly fails to meet the Air Quality Objectives set by the World Health Organisation, with levels of air pollution still frequently hitting dangerous levels across the borough, and we know that exposure to this level of pollution has serious health consequences for children, the elderly and those with heart and lung conditions.
So there is still plenty that needs to be done. That’s why in Lambeth we are continuing our work to reduce air pollution and improve the quality of life for all of our residents – by electrifying the council’s own vehicles such as those working in our parks or collection waste, introducing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to prevent residential areas being used as rat runs by polluting vehicles, pushing the Mayor of London to invest in low emission buses, installing hundreds of electric vehicle charging points, implementing School Streets to protect the roads around our schools from harmful levels of pollution and investing in infrastructure to make it easier to walk and cycle around Lambeth. You can find out more about our ambitious plans to improve air quality here.
Clean Air Day is an important reminder of the urgent work that still needs to be done on a local, national and global level to tackle air pollution. In Lambeth we are clear that improving local air quality is one of our top political priorities and we are committed to working with residents and local businesses to clean up our air, so that Lambeth continues to be a place that people want to live, work and invest in.
Cllr Danny Adilypour