Air quality vision for Lambeth
In recent years air quality has improved significantly in Lambeth. On Brixton Road, nitrogen dioxide pollution has more than halved since 2014. The number of state primary and secondary schools exceeding legal levels of nitrogen dioxide has fallen from 19 to 2 between 2016 and 2020.
However, air quality remains at dangerous levels across the borough, with both short and long-term effects. It is estimated that each year, air pollution kills over 100 Lambeth residents and causes over 750 emergency hospital admissions from lung and heart disease.
Covid-19 has illustrated that public health crises do not fall equally across the population. Air pollution is no different, hitting the young, the elderly and those in poor working and living conditions hardest. The death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah is evidence of the terrible impact air pollution can have on children’s health. Further, there is a strong correlation between air quality impacts and socio-economic inequalities. Those on low incomes tend to live in places where they are more exposed to air pollution.
Lambeth is making progress, due to the Ultra Low Emission Zone, cleaner buses, taxis and private vehicles, as well as improvements in cycling infrastructure. But there is much more work to do. The number of miles travelled by private vehicles in Lambeth increased by 18% between 2013 and 2019. Construction and wood burning remain significant sources of local particulate pollution.
Tackling these sources will require a planned and coordinated effort across the council, the borough and the wider London area. Therefore Lambeth Council is setting out our vision for air quality – a set of targets and principles that will shape the actions and policies of the Council over the coming decade.