Mums for Lungs have made four "Local Election asks" about air quality. We support these asks and if elected we would look to implement as policies. Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. It's an issue we care about deeply - we've taken action to set up our own air quality monitoring network in Bromley. Monitoring and action on air quality formed a key debate in our Spring Conference as covered here.
Read on to see the asks and our responses.
Cabinet member for Clean Air: A member of the cabinet should have “clean air” or “air pollution” in their title, to ensure that this public health crisis is constantly considered in cabinet decisions, and to ensure accountability. Lambeth Council, for example, has a cabinet member for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air.
Our response: This is a simple way to focus minds on tacking air quality issues and we support it.
Diesel-free borough by 2030: As the largest source of NO₂ pollution, diesel engines need special attention. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will end in 2030, and hybrid will cease to be sold in 2035. Mums for Lungs ask for action to disincentivise diesel use through:
- Stopping issuances of new parking permits for diesels from 2023
- Differential pay and display pricing depending on emissions from 2023
- Working with businesses to make freight diesel-free
Our response: Reducing the impact of diesel engines is an important part of air quality strategy. We support these measures. Emissions-based pay and display needs to be introduced with care, we have heard of difficulties in neighbouring Lewisham when changes came in this month.
School Streets by 2025: School Streets are initiatives where roads outside schools are closed for cars at the start and end of the school day. If this isn't possible, for example when schools are on main roads, Mums for Lungs would like to see other air quality-improving actions such as reducing parking near schools.
Our response: We have long supported School Streets for the air quality benefits they bring. They are popular with parents and carers and also boost children's health by encouraging active travel. See more on our take on School Streets here.
Phasing out wood burning: Wood burning is a major source of particulate pollution. Mums for Lungs ask that we:
- Raise awareness of impact of wood burning
- Work with the Mayor of London to build powers to phase out wood burning where not necessary
Our response: We agree that wood burning should be phased out. London Assembly Member Hina Bokhari has pressed for more action from City Hall on this topic, see her short video here.
Thank you to Mums for Lungs for raising these issues with us and we look forward to working with you in the future.