Air quality

An overview of the actions that we are taking to tackle air pollution and improve air quality.

How we are improving air quality

We have put in place a series of measures to minimise air pollution and improve air quality.

Improving air quality is one of our top priorities as a council. We know that we can only improve Lambeth’s air quality by working together:

  • Residents need to travel more often by public transport, on foot and by bike.
  • Businesses need to use clean transport for deliveries and invest in energy-efficient buildings.
  • As a council we need to lead by example, reducing our own emissions and helping others to do the same.

We’re working closely with our partners at a local, regional and national level, and in particular with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who wants London to be one of the world’s greenest cities. We’re bidding for special funding and joining London-wide initiatives, like the Low Emission Construction Partnership.

Our actions

We've set out the actions we will take to tackle air pollution and improve air quality in our Air Quality Action Plan 2017-22, available on Air quality resource and archive.

Monitoring pollution levels

Monitoring air quality allows us to look at historic trends, assess the sources and impacts of air pollution and ensure current levels of air pollution are within air quality objectives. We have over 50 diffusion tubes across Lambeth and Air Quality Monitoring Stations in Vauxhall, Brixton and Streatham, which measure nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and PM10 (small particles from, for example, smoke, dirt, dust and pollen) emissions. You can view data from each on the London Air website. Please consult the ASR at the bottom of the page to understand how the process works.

Cleaner transport

We welcome the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). This covers the north of Lambeth, but we are campaigning for it to be extended to cover the whole of Lambeth.

We are making it easier for our residents to travel sustainably by:

  • creating more cycle hangar spaces
  • building a network of Quietway’s protected cycle lanes
  • providing bikes at low cost via a Try Before You Bike scheme
  • making sure that pedestrians, bikes and public transport are prioritised on our streets, with changes to our road layouts to stop rat-running.

We are supporting the shift to electric vehicles with a rolling programme of installing new EV charge-points. As of October 2020, we had installed over 250 charge-points either on street or on housing estates that we manage. Zapmap maintains a record or charge-points that are available to the public so you can see where your nearest one is. You can find out more about the grants available to purchase an EV on the Energy Savings Trust website. If you don’t have off-street parking you can help us map the demand for new on-street charge-points by completing the form on our website. Greatest priority is given to requests from those who already own an EV, especially those who use their vehicles a lot such as taxi or private hire drivers, but we also want to hear from people considering buying an EV. We have a number of rapid charge-points in the borough and are scoping locations for where the next generation of ultra-rapid charges can be installed.

We are working with TfL to improve traffic flows and reduce pollution. To ensure all buses comply with strict emission standards, we have introduced a clean bus corridor through Brixton and Streatham.

Work with schools

Children are among the most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, as their bodies are still developing. We aim to work with all schools in Lambeth to minimise air pollution and ensure our children play in clean air. This includes measures like timed road closures, green screens to block air pollution, and installing better insulation and heating systems which reduce emissions from schools themselves.

  • We have introduced school streets, timed closures of roads around schools at pick-up and drop-off times to improve child safety and reduce traffic emissions. Following successful trials in 2019, we are continuing to expand the number of schools who are participating in the programme.
  • We have taken part in the Mayor’s school air quality audit programme, which carried out audits at 50 primary schools in the most polluted areas of London. We have been working with Stockwell Primary School in Brixton and St Anne’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Vauxhall to deliver the recommendations of the programme.
  • We are taking part in the Mayor’s Nursery School audit programme. This will carry out audits at nurseries in the most polluted areas of London and develop recommendations to reduce their exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
  • We have launched a grant scheme for 15 secondary schools and higher education colleges in Lambeth which have been found to be within 150 metres of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels that exceed EU legal limits. This will help mitigate the effects of air pollution.
  • We are committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. As part of this we are working with the Mayor’s RE:FIT team to reduce emissions from schools and improve energy efficiency.

View our Carbon Reduction Plan (PDF, 370KB)