Lambeth Council has outlined how it will improve air quality and protect those most at risk from the effects of pollution and toxic air.
The Air Quality Action Plan 2023-2025 (AQAP) sets out how it will combat the main sources of pollution in Lambeth, including emissions released from roads, buildings, and construction sites.
It will enable the council to work closely with residents, businesses, and major institutions by supporting the launch of the Air Quality Forum to ensure air quality targets are met.
Air quality has been improving across Lambeth in recent years but pollution remains at dangerous levels in parts of the borough. The action plan will target these areas to reduce emissions at the source.
Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “Air pollution is one of the most significant public health challenges that we face in Lambeth.
“Poor air quality affects us all, but air pollution has the greatest impact on the older members of our community, the young and those of us living with heart and respiratory conditions. It is vital we take decisive action to protect residents and potentially save lives.”
The previous Air Quality Action Plan 2017-2022 resulted in a significant drop in pollution levels on some of Lambeth’s worst affected roads.
The new plan will support the stringent World Health Organisation emissions targets set out in the Lambeth Air Quality Vision last year, ensuring improving air quality is prioritised in all council areas.
The AQAP will aim to reduce levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particle Matter PM2.5 and PM10 that are found in the air and can lead to serious illness or death. It is estimated air pollution kills over 100 Lambeth residents each year and leads to 750 emergency hospital admissions.
It prioritises seven actions the council can carry out to improve air quality.
They include the development of an air quality information service and the new construction pilot scheme, further work with communities to reduce emissions within Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
The council will also work towards integrating the new WHO air quality targets into the forthcoming Lambeth Local Plan, increase the number of electric vehicles in its fleet, work with businesses, institutions and others to develop a Clean Air Pledge.
It will also establish the Air Quality Forum for people in the borough to shape future air quality policies.
The AQAP builds on Lambeth’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which was adopted last year to support the borough to become Net Zero compatible by 2030.
Leading organisations across Lambeth, the Climate Partnership, have signed up to 20 CAP goals, including one to “break the association between inner-London living and poor air quality, pursuing World Health Organisation Air Quality targets.
Cllr Chowdhury added: “We have worked hard to ensure significant improvements to the quality of the air we breathe in Lambeth in recent years. As a result, the concentrations of the most concerning pollutants are falling.
“Nitrogen dioxide levels on Brixton Road are now less than half of those that were recorded in 2014, and by carrying out the actions that are laid out in this Air Quality Action Plan, we expect them to continue to fall.
“By implementing this Air Quality Action Plan, we will be making the progress we need to make Lambeth a healthier, cleaner borough for everyone.”