Latest air quality proposals are not to be sniffed at

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, wants to introduce a set of wide-ranging policies to improve the city’s air quality, including extra charges for older vehicles and an ultra-low emissions zone,and PETER UNDERWOOD says it is none too soon

Thousands of Londoners die every year due to air pollution.

vehicle exhaustsThe filthy air that our children are forced to breathe in our streets and around their schools permanently damages their lungs. Action to clean up London’s air is vitally important and long overdue.

Over 60 per cent of Nitrous Oxide emissions are from transport and so we support efforts to cut down on polluting vehicles and incentivise cleaner alternatives. For example, increasing the congestion charge on more polluting vehicles and widening the area covered should be accompanied by improvements to public transport and measures to make cycling and walking safer and easier.

We would also call on the Mayor of London to tackle other factors that will make London’s air worse, such as the waste incinerator in Beddington and airport expansion plans.

In response to these proposals we will no doubt get the usual bleating that any change is “bad for business” or it will “make life difficult”. Indeed, Steve O’Connell, the Conservative London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, responded to the Mayor’s proposals by saying that it “is a blunt tool that will be very bad indeed for small business and potentially difficult for many Londoners”.

Well, it is estimated that air pollution already costs London £3.7 billion a year and I can certainly put up with a little inconvenience in my journey if it means I can live my life without having difficulty just breathing.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Clean Air Acts produced the necessary changes to get rid of dirty coal and end the peasoupers that claimed thousands of lives.

We need now to take the next step to get rid of the invisible killers produced by London’s polluting vehicles.

  • Peter UnderwoodPeter Underwood, pictured right, is the chair of Croydon and Sutton Green Party

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2 Responses to Latest air quality proposals are not to be sniffed at

  1. croydonres says:

    It’s funny innit, but I never see ANYTHING in the national press about the fact that London’s air will now be much filthier because of a llttle old in-cin-er-ator soon to be built on Beddington’s marshes.
    Don’t they know it’s in London, and will cast a pall of invisible but noxious chemical compounds over the whole of SW and central London?

    I am absolutely sure that there is a conspiracy of silence about this elephant in the living room.

    I wonder why?. One lens of the air-quallity binoculars is being focused on traffic. The other lens, which should be on the incinerator, is covered. Deliberately?

    Could it be that it is far easier and safer, as they won’t get sued, for Government to target the individual motorist rather than the powerful, moneyed and be-lawyered big fish in the world of rubbish and politics. They are harder to get–or are they just good mates?.

    The examination in public of the SW London Waste Plan was a travesty of non-public participation, , as the plan was a non-plan. It all stinks. It was all rubbish.

    If we really need incineration, it should be undertaken on a Boris island in the Thames estuary, not in London.

  2. Before we end making telescope analogies,let’ look through “the wrong end” of one.Croydon makes every effort not to let you know what real pollution levels are….BOTH noxes AND particulates….both with a separate mortality,higher than either.
    So here is


    “A pocket-sized aerosol monitor linked to a GPS watch and a tiny Raspberry Pi computer allows pollution data collected in the street to communicate with LED lights embedded in the artists’ capes and masks. The data cannot yet be broadcast by the clothing in real time but information collected a few hours previously is used.

    “The reaction has been amazing. People quickly realise it’s to do with the air and breathing. Many passers-by have been surprised and concerned that the changing colours on the costumes mean that they can ‘see’ the air pollution for the first time,” said Molga.”

    “It is really important for artists and scientists to work together,” said King’s College senior air quality analyst, Andrew Grieve. “The big challenge we have is that air pollution is mostly invisible. Art helps to makes it visible. We are trying to bring air pollution into the public realm. Scientific papers in journals work on one level, but this is a way to bring it into the street where the public is.”
    The development of hi-tech clothing is expected to lead to big societal change, said Prof Frank Kelly, director of the Environmental Research Group at King’s. “Here it is being used in a really positive way – making dangerous air pollutants visible. The problem we have as scientists is people cannot see the problem.”

    In a separate development, 16 children and teachers at East Barnet secondary school in London have this week been issued with portable air pollution sensors enabling the school to generate live air pollution data from both inside the classroom and on routes to and from the school.

    The monitors, from London technology startup Drayson Technologies, measure carbon monoxide. The data will be fed into a time-lapse heat map that will show the pollution levels in realtime.

    Come om Croydon….don’t hide your heads in the sand…MAKE YOUR AIR POLLUTION VISIBLE….’COS NO ONE ELSE WILL !!!

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