London borough reports continued fall in harmful pollution

Lambeth Council has unveiled its Air Quality Annual Status Report highlighting a significant reduction in toxic air levels in the borough, thanks to a fall in vehicle emissions.

The report has been published showing the continued fall in the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and other harmful particles linked to vehicles, saying that between 2014 and 2020, there was a 62% fall in NO2 in Brixton Road, a 52% decrease in NO2 around Vauxhall and a 30% reduction in Streatham Green.

The annual report found a reduction in the number of times NO2 levels have breached the air quality objectives set by Central Government, which allow for a total of 18 breaches a year.

In Brixton Road last year there was just one occasion when these objectives were not met, compared with 1,732 occasions in 2014 and 83 in 2018.

“It is clear from the report that the levels of NO2 in Lambeth are falling, especially in areas that have seen significant air pollution in the past,” said Cllr Danny Adilypour, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air. “The numbers are moving in the right direction, but so much more needs to be done over the coming years to encourage active travel and less dependence on polluting vehicles.”

Lambeth Council uses a network of 115 diffusion tubes to measure NO2 levels in the air including several within Lambeth schools.

The report observed a steep fall in the number of times the tubes detected NO2 levels above the target set for London boroughs. In 2020, just 7% recorded excessive values compared with 68% in 2018. There was also a fall in the amount of PM10 – harmful particles emitted from vehicles and construction sites – recorded by monitors in Brixton and Streatham last year.

The Council says it has committed to bold measures to combat air pollution in conjunction with Transport for London and its partners, including the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, improvements to public transport and encouraging the use of electric vehicles as well as walking and cycling.

Cllr Adilypour added, “The Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have obviously played their part in seeing fewer journeys in private vehicles and fewer harmful emissions pumped into the air. We need to make sure we can deliver a cleaner, greener and more inclusive transport network in Lambeth.

“I hope that with additional measures including improvements to TfL’s buses, the expansion of the ULEZ and better local infrastructure, we can continue to take big steps to improving air quality throughout the borough.”

The full report is available to view online

(Picture – Lambeth Borough Council)

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