A guide to how we monitor air quality in the borough, why this is important and what we are doing to reduce pollution levels

Cleaner Air Borough logo The Greater London Authority has recognised Lambeth’s work to improve air quality in the borough and granted us Cleaner Air Borough status for 2016-17.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. How do we assess air quality?

We have three Air Quality Monitoring Stations in the borough which measure Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide & PM10 (small particles from e.g. smoke, dirt, dust and pollen) emissions. The stations are based in Vauxhall, Brixton and Streatham and data from each can be viewed on the LondonAir website.

2. Why do we measure air quality?

We measure air quality to:

  • Allow us to compare current levels of pollution with air quality standards.
  • Look at trends and develop ways to control and lower pollution.
  • Identify potential impacts on the health of those who live, work and travel through the borough.
  • Assess the impact of pollution on the environment.
  • Gather information to tell residents of day to day changes in air quality.
  • Air pollution contributes to 29,000 deaths per year in the UK and reduces average life expectancy by six 6 months. We want to reduce this.

3. What are the main causes of pollution?

The major threat to clean air comes from traffic emissions. Petrol and diesel vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants including, carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM10), which have an increasing impact on urban air quality.

Because of their potential impacts on human health, welfare and the natural environment, these pollutants are measured continuously at a wide range of rural and urban locations throughout the UK.

4. What are we doing to improve air quality?

Our Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) details everything we are doing to improve air quality, raise awareness and reduce exposure to pollution.

We are currently consulting on our new Air Quality Action Plan. The consultation will close on 15 November 2016. Please visit our AQAP consultation page www.lambeth.gov.uk/AQAP for more information.

5. What can I do to help improve air quality in my local area?

There are a number of easy ways to help improve your local air quality. Walking or cycling instead of taking the car, planting trees in your garden or local community and using energy wisely are all examples of simple actions you can take.

Could you help others to reduce pollution and improve air quality? We’re looking for Green Champions to engage with and inspire others to make a change. If you think this could be you, please contact greenchampion@lambeth.gov.uk.