Putney air pollution plummets
Published: Friday 19th January 18
Air pollution levels in Putney High Street have fallen sharply over the past year, new figures show.
Data from a council’s air monitoring station on the façade of a building in in Putney High Street show that in 2017 levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air were breached eight times. This means a target of not breaching them more than 18 times in a year has easily been beaten.
In comparison, in 2016 they were breached 403 times. In 2012 there were 1726 breaches – meaning that since then there has been a 99 per cent reduction in breaches. Mean levels of nitrogen dioxide recorded at a kerbside monitoring station show a reduction from 98 in 2016 to 60 in 2017
The fall in pollution coincides with the introduction of cleaner buses along the street and the introduction last year of a Low Emission Bus Zone. More than 100 buses an hour use Putney High Street, but in 2012 a unique research project by Wandsworth Council exposed the bus fleet as responsible for over 80 per cent of nitrogen dioxide build ups.
The findings were presented to Transport for London to convince it to put routes serving Putney at the front of the queue when switching to greener buses. Now the council is urging Mayor Sadiq Khan to take polluting buses off all the borough’s streets.
The council has also made improvements to Putney High Street’s layout and traffic signals to ease queuing, and a ban on delivery vehicles stopping to unload has been introduced to reduce congestion further.
The council’s environment spokesman Jonathan Cook said: “Our campaign to ban polluting buses from Putney High Street and our ban on daytime deliveries have both been significant factors in cutting the congestion which contributes to pollution build ups.
“Progress has been excellent so far, but there’s no room for complacency. We will continue to work to reduce air pollution in Putney and across the borough as set out in our Air Quality Action Plan.
“We will also continue to lobby the Mayor to ensure all the bus routes serving Wandsworth use low-emission buses – not just those in pollution hotspots. All our residents deserve cleaner air, and this fall in Putney’s pollution proves that our focus on buses was correct.”
Wandsworth Council is taking a wide range of actions to tackle air pollution in the borough, including:
- Training members of the council’s civic enforcement team how to explain to drivers of stationary vehicles why they should not leave engines running. If drivers refuse to switch engines off they can issue fixed penalty notices.
- Recruiting and training air quality champions.
- A rolling programme of environmental theatre productions in local schools to teach children how their travel choices affect air quality.
- Advising new building developments and infrastructure projects in Nine Elms on reducing dust and diesel pollution
- Supporting Clean Air Day and encouraging local people to make clean air pledges
- Helping schools develop School Travel Plans which reduce the number of cars used on the school run through initiatives like 'walking buses' and car pools.
- Championing car clubs which dramatically reduce total vehicle use and take older, more polluting cars off the road. Wandsworth now has the highest car club membership in London.
- Providing a comprehensive network of electric vehicle charging points.
- Promoting cycling and investing in the borough’s cycle network. Wandsworth now has the fastest growing cycling rate in the country according to Government statistics.
- Free bike safety lessons for children and adults to give more residents the confidence and skills they need to start cycling.
- Introducing a borough-wide 20mph speed limit.
- Restrictions on delivery vehicles in busy high streets
- A free airTEXT messaging service warns residents when high pollution levels are forecast.
- Lobbying for higher capacity rail, bus, riverbus and tube services so more residents can switch from cars to public transport.
- Lobbying for cleaner buses
- For more information about the work being carried out locally to improve air quality, visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/airquality.
- Read the Air Quality Action Plan
Note to Editors
Although the figures for the first six months are confirmed, the figures for the last six months of 2017 are provisional, so are subject to change.