IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Toxic air remains a major problem for Londoners

26 March, 2021

‘Motorised vehicles cause around half of the air pollution which is a particular problem in inner London’ 

• WHILE there has been progress recently, the toxic air remains a major problem in London.

A recent study from Imperial College found that in 2019, 90 to 100 people died in Islington because of the impact of toxic air caused by human activity.

Air pollution is a particular problem for children, especially those with asthma. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution because it can stunt their lung growth.

Air pollution is also problem for older people, for whom it can exacerbate heart and lung problems, worsen dementia, and may have increased deaths linked to Covid-19.

Motorised vehicles cause around half of the air pollution which is a particular problem in inner London.

In Islington many areas are frequently subject to NO2 concentrations above the level set by regulation in 2010 (40 µg/m3).

Last week Living Streets held its annual “walking summit” and concluded that far more needs to be done to reduce air pollution and that enabling walking with safer crossings, low traffic neighbourhoods, and slower speeds are inclusive ways to achieve this.

Already the current Ultra Low Emission Zone requires pre Euro 4 petrol cars and pre-Euro 6 diesel cars to pay a charge to drive in a zone bound by the Inner Ring Road.

The extension to the North Circular Road in October will help further clean up our air. But given that many older people live in the outer suburbs, it should be extended to include outer London.

We should also reassess the way we allocate road space, prioritising public transport and walking and cycling.

This means there should be no new roads, such the Silvertown tunnel, and we need a smart fair road-pricing scheme based on mileage and engine emissions to discourage use of larger vehicles and reduce overall miles driven.

By following such an approach, life can be made more healthy and pleasant for the majority of Londoners, especially in Islington where traffic is so heavy, despite few people owning cars.

JEREMY DREW
Islington Green Party

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