Council calls on Government to do more as its new Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2022 published

19 July 2017

Cllr Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for environment and the public realm, has called on Secretary of State for Environment Michael Gove MP to do more to clean up air quality nationally.

It comes as Southwark Council reaffirmed its committed to improving air quality in the borough with its renewed  Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2022 - agreed by Cabinet yesterday evening (Tuesday 18 July).

Cllr Wingfield called the Government’s Draft Air Quality Plan for Tackling Nitrogen Dioxide “partial and unsatisfactory” in a letter to Michael Gove MP.

He added: “The issue of poor air quality does not stop at borough or even city boundaries – it is a national issue which requires a national response and national funding.”

Cllr Wingfield urged Government to bring forward a comprehensive package of actions and policies in taxation, transportation, energy and infrastructure development to bring air pollution down to satisfactory levels, rather than relying on the individual policies of local authorities.

Research by Public Health England suggests that 7% of adult deaths in Southwark may be attributable to air pollution. Recent analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation also estimates that air pollution is ranked as the 10th largest risk factor for mortality and ill-health in England.

Talking about the new Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan Cllr Ian Wingfield said: “The impact of poor air quality on health is significant and beyond doubt. We are fully committed to doing all we can to encourage our services, local businesses and residents to consider air quality in the choices they make and everything they do. Local air quality is a public health priority for Southwark and we already have performance indicators regarding improving air quality listed in the current council plan.”

The new Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan lays out 113 clear actions and anticipated targets that will contribute to improving air quality.

Locally, vehicular pollution was identified as the biggest contributor to poor air quality in the borough.  Emission considerations will continue to be at the forefront of how the council will procure fleet vehicles and the action plan includes many other measures to encourage a reduction in vehicle emissions including enforcement against those who idle their engines unnecessarily.

Southwark also reaffirmed its commitment to working with the Mayor of London’s office to promote good environmental awareness and practice to business, commerce, road users and the general public.

Cllr Wingfield concluded: “Southwark fully supports the Mayor of London’s aims for the improvement of air quality in London and we will be reporting annually to the Mayor on our progress with regard to the actions listed in this action plan and on the extra actions we take.”

Other actions include, encouraging cycling and walking, reviewing the impact of planning applications and the introduction of renewable energies for new homes.

The Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2022 is available online.

Page last updated: 19 July 2017