Support for air pollution call
Published: Thursday 15th March 18
Wandsworth’s council leader has supported today’s cross-party call to do more to tackle air pollution.
Ravi Govindia has backed calls for a comprehensive package of measures to tackle the UK-wide problem, and has re-stated the council’s commitment to do all it can to improve air quality in Wandsworth, with sharp drops in pollution recorded recently in Putney and Nine Elms.
He was responding to all call from the Environment, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit committees for action including a new Clean Air Act and a faster phase-out of petrol and diesel cars.
“That is why we have done so much over the recent years to tackle this problem, including investing in electric vehicle charging points, and we will continue to make it our priority. Recent improvements suggest our approaching is bearing fruit, but we acknowledge that there’s always more to be done, both locally and at a national level.
“As the borough has developed and previously derelict areas have been regenerated we have tried to put air quality at the heart of what we do. We will continue to carry out the work set out in in our comprehensive Air Pollution Action Plan and work with the government, Transport for London, developers, local businesses and residents to clean up our air.”
The council has worked closely with construction companies in Nine Elms to reduce the air pollution caused by building work, and has a dedicated officer to ensure they are sticking to the air quality conditions agreed during the planning process to minimise pollution. Breaches of EU pollution levels have dropped by 70 per cent since 2016.
In Putney the council lobbied the Mayor of London to introduce cleaner buses, helping to lead to a 99 per cent reduction in the amount of breaches since 2012. The council is now lobbying for cleaner buses across the borough.
Drivers are asked not to leave engines idling
The council is also investing heavily in the infrastructure needed to encourage cleaner travel, including a £3m network of electric vehicle recharging points in streets, and on lampposts. It is rolling out a cycling strategy including cycle lanes and bike training, and is commissioning a pilot dockless bikeshare service.
The borough now has three riverbus piers, and the council lobbied for an extension of the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea, due to open in 2020, and for increased capacity on the existing line.
Other work has included planting 1,100 new trees this winter and next winter, installing energy-efficient LED streetlights, and an anti-idling campaign that has visited schools across the borough. Children learn about air pollution in a special assembly, and at pick up time parents are told about the pollution caused by leaving their cars idling.
Read the council’s Air Quality Action Plan here