CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden Council bids to make air safe by 2030

Town Hall targets World Health Organisation's stringent limits

29 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Adam Harrison

CAMDEN is set to become one of the first local authorities in the country to pledge to make the air safe with a bid to reach stringent pollution limits set by the World Heath Organisation (WHO).

Labour councillors will test support for the ambition in the council chamber on Monday with a show-of-hands motion calling for the target to be met by 2030. The 12-year mission will tackle NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] and PM10 [dust and particles] amid concerns over the health risks of poor air quality in London. Everybody living or working in London has breathed in dangerous particle matter, according to air-quality monitors.

Most streets in Camden break European Union standards, but the WHO levels are even tougher to meet. Monday’s motion says the council should have “deep concern at the threat that air pollution poses to the health and well-being of people living and working in Camden, particularly children, elderly people and the most deprived”.

A CNJ cartoon from last year on air quality [John Sadler]

Ideas include encouraging cycling and walking, continuous monitoring of air quality near schools, and penalising engine-idling.

Environment chief Councillor Adam Harrison said: “We know the council cannot reach the WHO limits on its own, but people are aware of how important air quality is. There is no safe level of particulate matter, but there are more things we can do. We are aiming at WHO’s limits because they go further. “We want people living and working in Camden to work with us and the Mayor of London. The motion is a good starting point.”

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