Hounslow Air Quality Summit

IMG_1555.JPG26 February 2019, Holiday Inn, Brentford Hounslow Council have set up a Working Group to focus on ways they can improve air quality, and protect local residents, especially those with vulnerabilities like children and people with existing underlying health issues. Air Quality Brentford was one of the community groups asked to attend this for their input. The public meeting followed in the afternoon. Here is a brief summary of some of the speakers.

Councillor Katherine Dunne thanked everyone for taking the time out for attending the event. She explained that with air pollution in the news so much and its impact on our health that the Council wanted to shine a light on this and take action in this administration.

Ruth Cadbury MP continued in a call for council officers, community groups and everyone to work together to help with this important issue. A diesel scrappage scheme would help fund the removal of the most polluting cars on our roads. If Heathrow’s 3rd runway goes ahead then this will confound the issue with a vast increase in surface traffic to and from the airport. There are still Particulate Matter issues without diesel, with the wear of tyres and gears, so a decrease in car usage is encouraged. The government needs to agree new railway access to Heathrow.

Dr Richard Baxter explained that the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) was a joint well-being strategy  incorporating air quality, which can cause chronic heart disorders, strokes, asthma, conditions which are exasperated when air pollution is high. He encouraged more cycling and an active lifestyle.

Poppy Lyle, from the GLA, explained the focus of the Mayor of London’s plan for Air Quality in London with three strategies: the London Environment Strategy, key for air quality, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, with a shift away from cars, and the London Plan, with objectives to reduce exposure of harmful pollution. The ULEZ will begin on 8 April 2019, with the aim of reducing the most polluting cars on our roads. The Cleaner Vehicle Checker can be found on the GLA website so you can check your own vehicle’s real world emissions.

Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner for the GLA, wanted to make a clear statement ‘making London’s roads safer for people walking and cycling does not cause air pollution’. The Cycle Superhighway CS9 should encourage people who wouldn’t normally cycle to use bikes as their mode of transport instead of cars.

Dr William Bird works with Intelligent Health and brought Beat the Streets to Hounslow. There are three core areas of health: to be sociable, connect with nature, and to be valued. He acknowledged the effect of air pollution on all organs of the body, and said that exercise can rapidly bring down chronic inflammation which causes so many diseases.

IMG_1559.JPGChildren from Hogarth School showed the audience their creative Anti-idling posters and Councillor Steve Curran explained the challenges of getting people out of their cars in favour of walking and cycling. Anti-idling, 20 mph limits, EV charging, monitors for speeding over 20mph, CS9 to improve cycling across the borough are measures the council is supporting.

There was a presentation by Ricardo, the company who monitor air quality for the Council, there are several ways of viewing their data, including the website www.airqualityengland.co.uk. Select Hounslow borough, click on Make Graph and take a look at the Nitrogen Dioxide levels and those for Particulate Matter.

Hounslow’s AQAP (Air Quality Action Plan) approved in Sept 2018 detailed some of the ways they are helping to make change, increasing e-vehicle charging points, making developments ‘air quality neutral’, applying a workplace parking levy, which will help to fund the rail link to Southall.

Hounslow Homes are making changes by making their estates more energy efficient, with insulation and new boilers, and increasing charging points for electric cars.

Hounslow Highways have increased the number of pool cars/Zip cars and are working with the STARS scheme to change behaviour in schools. There are efforts to increase electric car charging points, some in lamp posts. The SourceLondon network provides location for the BlueCity electric cars in the borough. They’re also encouraging street parties and ‘play streets’ to allow children and residents to reclaim residential roads, if only for the day. The council is beginning to focus on unnecessary idling as well, with dedicated traffic management orders being enforced from March. Idling Action have worked with the City of London and Camden to help them address this issue.

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