Air Quality event at City Hall

P1030906.jpgTuesday 6 November 2018 We were invited to City Hall for an event which asked how community groups can help the Mayor of London improve London’s air quality. It was a positive meeting and a great way to meet further like-minded groups.

An opportunity arose to ask Sadiq Khan in person whether the speed of the A4 section under the M4 running through the residential part of Brentford could be reduced to 30mph. He made a note of our request and said he was reducing the speed of particular roads to help reduce emissions.

The Mayor went on to speak about pollution being an issue of inequality, as the poorest tended to live around the most polluted roads. New buses will only be hybrid or electric from now on. The ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) will begin on 8 April 2019 covering Central London, further restrictions on polluting vehicles will be in place for the LEZ (Low Emission Zone), inside the M25 from 26 October 2020, then the ULEZ will then be extended to inside the North/South Circular from 25 October 2021. The ULEZ will be the first in the world and is expected to reduce Nitrogen Oxides and Particulates by 45%. It’s important to lobby Central Government to assist diesel vehicles owners to move away from these polluting vehicles by providing a diesel scrappage scheme.

Professor Stephen Holgate, who wrote the 2016 Royal College of Physician’s Report stated that there was no doubt that air pollution was a major issue and the number 1 problem in the world now.  Nitrogen Dioxide doesn’t get the visibility is deserves as it’s invisible, you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. He wants the medical profession to take this on now.

Andrea Lee from Client Earth said the UK was dragging its feet on air pollution. Client Earth have taken the Government to court three times now and have been instrumental in raising awareness. She encouraged more action, speaking to MPs, and the governemnt has a legal requirement to improve our air quality.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said that there are systemic changes happening with the ULEZ, big changes to company fleets, people are rethinking how they move around London. Ultimately they want to move to zero emissions and aim for London to be one of the greenest cities in the world.

As a follow-up we sent Hounslow Council an email the following day asking whether the diesel levy on parking permits was being ring-fenced for air quality issues, and also for No Idling signs to be installed to limit harmful diesel emissions. We intend to make our own ‘residents clean air zones’ and put up our own signs and have asked for the Lampton 360 recycling vehicles to switch off their engines when stationary and making collections.

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