Camden Council sets target to meet WHO standard for air quality

PUBLISHED: 13:55 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 30 January 2018

Exhaust from car fumes

Exhaust from car fumes


Camden councillors pointed the finger at school traffic during a council meeting on Monday night as they became the first local authority in the country to adopt strict World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for air pollution.

The motion followed a performance on air pollution by Camden Peoples’ Theatre, and a debate on air quality by councillors.

Introducing the motion, Highgate councillor Oliver Lewis talked about the experience of walking his daughter to school in the area, and the pollution coming from congested cars nearby.

“It is around our schools across the borough of Camden. This is about the air they breath every day, and in their classrooms which lack air quality.”

The motion said that Camden, as well as the majority of London, breaches European Union standards for nitrogen oxide (NO2).

While the council meets the levels of fine dust and particles (PM10), there is no safe level for them and they can damage children’s hearts and lungs.

School traffic came under fire during the debate as councillors raised their concerns about parents who drive their children to school, including those who live outside the borough.

Cantelowes councillor Angela Mason, the cabinet member whose remit covers schools, revealed that a council study from last year found that pollution levels were bad in areas with independent schools.

Frognal and Fitzjohn’s ward has a number of the schools, and is particularly bad for pollution.

The meeting also heard more than 40 Camden schools have signed up to the School Travel Plan accreditation system (STARS), designed to cut down on car usage.

Cllr Mason said: “We have written to all schools asking them to sign up to STARS. We are encouraging them to talk to parents to reduce the number of them coming by car.”

The council will now aim to meet air pollution targets set by the WHO by 2030, and also lobby the government to introduce a new National Clean Air Act.

Green Party councillor Sian Berry welcomed the move, but was concerned that the target of 2030 meant the responsibility could be passed onto successive councils without them taking action.

“I worry it will be the council after this, or the council after that. It will be the third council after this one who are held accountable for this.”

She also said that the previous target to bring it within European Union levels by 2010 had failed.

The debate was part of a new format of council meetings being trialled by the council. Each meeting now an over-arching theme and discussion.

Before the meeting, in a council chamber which is no stranger to theatrics, Camden People’s Theatre performed “Fog Everywhere” on air pollution, featuring students from Westminster Kingsway College.

They also heard from members of residents associations and environmental groups about their thoughts on the area’s air pollution, and ideas for the future.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


The victims of Tuesday night’s stabbings have been named as 17-year-old Abdikarim Hassan, and 20-year-old Sadiq Adan Mohamed.


A mother of three with cancer forced to sell the family home to pay for treatment abroad has called for the life-saving therapy to be made available on the NHS.


Dog lovers have been invited to put on their walking shoes for a cancer charity’s first “Woof” fundraising day.


The chairman of a community group charged with shining a spotlight on policing has attacked the merger of borough forces.


A developer has been urged to spare a 200-year-old Georgian villa from the wrecking ball.

Police have launched separate murder investigations after two young men were fatally stabbed in Kentish Town last night.


Campaigners battling to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe left letters of solidarity for the jailed mum on the steps of the Iranian Embassy.


A night of knife violence in Kentish Town last night saw two young men killed, and another suffer stab injuries.


Melange, with locations in Barnet and Crouch End, has opened a third in Belsize Park. Here co-owner Justina Markauskaite talks about removing the borders between cuisines and why they put family at the centre of everything they do

Less is More, a group exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery will feature emerging artists from England, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, from January 24 to February 16.

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now