Cllr Claire Holland: ‘Act tougher to improve air quality’
The government recently published a draft Clean Air Strategy, outlining plans to improve air quality in the UK. They are currently consulting on the plans, and Lambeth Council is asking the government to go further.
We ask the government to bring forward:
- A modern clean air act
- A targeted national vehicle renewal scheme
- An enhanced Clean Air Fund
- Pure diesel and petrol cars and vans to be phased out by 2030
- Clean air and other environmental standards to be maintained after Brexit
- A national clean air campaign
All levels of government have a role in improving air quality and raising awareness about air pollution.
The council is working hard alongside the Mayor of London, other local authorities and energetic campaign groups to tackle polluted air that is killing thousands of people every year. Urgent action is needed to ensure Lambeth citizens, especially our children who are some of the most vulnerable, breathe clean air.
We simply do not believe this draft strategy goes far enough to combat poor air quality.
In Lambeth, as detailed in our 2017-2022 Air Quality Action Plan, we are:
- Building green screens at every school on a main road. We have already built green screens at St Helen’s and Corpus Christi Primary Schools, and we will build another four green screens in 2018/19
- Planting more trees. Between 2009 and 2017 we planted 3,000 trees
- Working in partnership with the Mayor. We implemented together the Brixton to Streatham Low Emission Bus Zone. We also continue to work on projects such as idling action and the London Low Emission Construction Partnership funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund
- Working in partnership with our citizens. We have had two rounds of our citizen science Love Lambeth Air project and we will be launching our third round in July 2018
But Lambeth, the Mayor and other local authorities can’t do this alone. Every year nearly 9,500 Londoners die from air pollution and action is needed now. We are asking central government to:
1. Listen to the Mayor and other UK100 leaders who are calling on the government to:
- Develop a modern clean air act
- Introduce a targeted national vehicle renewal scheme
- Make available an enhanced Clean Air Fund
- Commit to phasing out sales of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030
2. Ensure clean air and other environmental standards are maintained after Brexit. Client Earth has successfully forced central government several times in court to revise its clean air plan to meet EU standards. After Brexit, central government proposes to create a new body to champion and to uphold environmental standards. But based on their previous performance, we want a commitment this body will not be toothless
3. Create a national clean air campaign. Similar to anti drink driving and smoking campaigns, we believe a nation clean air education and awareness raising campaign is needed. This will highlight the dangers of air pollution and help citizens understand what they can do to improve air quality