Letter: Camden Council and air pollution

Parents walk their children to school in Hornchurch, Essex, past stationary vehicles near to the sch

Parents walk their children to school on a busy road - Credit: PA Images

Air pollution still a major priority

Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden, writes:

Today, June 17, was National Clean Air Day - the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. 

This year, it is also the date by which those parties named in the inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah must respond to the coroner’s recommendations. For the first time possibly anywhere in the world, air pollution was named as a cause of death.

The coroner called on the government, local authorities and the medical sector to step up efforts to improve air quality to prevent further loss of life, by adopting stricter pollution targets and improving public information about the health risks of exposure.

We have a long way to go: air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health and each year 4,000 deaths in London are attributed to exposure, with many thousands more experiencing a lower quality of life due to toxic air.

This crisis demands coordinated effort from policy-makers, public services, businesses and individuals to make the collective and individual changes to help reduce air pollution.

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Camden Council is taking action to improve air quality and protect health – we were the first local authority to adopt the stringent World Health Organization air quality standards, and our Clean Air Action Plan sets out the council’s strategy for realising our communities’ vision for a borough in which no one experiences ill health as a result of the air they breathe. We are taking more stringent action on engine-idling, emissions from transport and buildings, and lobbying the government to electrify rail in the borough to remove diesel rail emissions.

A man sitting in Primrose Hill looks at smog over London as the Department for Environment, Food and

A man sitting in Primrose Hill looks at smog over London - Credit: PA Images

But there is much more that needs to be done, and at this pivotal moment for air quality Camden Council states its commitment to doing all we can to realise the coroner’s recommendations and tackle the air quality health crisis. We commit to:

  • step up our efforts to raise public awareness about the health risks imposed by air pollution
  • working with our partners, including hospitals and Camden’s Public Health team, to ensure that patients are provided with information about air pollution and how they can protect themselves
  • continue to tackle air pollution in Camden by reducing emissions from road vehicles, buildings, and all other sources

To find out more and get involved please visit camden.gov.uk/air-quality