A recent air pollution study published on January 25, 2021 found that Bromley, Barnet, Croydon and Havering were the London boroughs with the highest number of air pollution deaths. Commissioned by the Mayor of London and carried out by the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London “London’s Health Pressures from Current Air Pollution and Future Health Benefits of Mayors’ Air Quality Policies”found that toxic air pollution caused 3,600 to 4,100 deaths in 2019. For Bromley, this is a surprising number as it is considered London’s greenest neighborhood with over 160 parks and large areas known as the Metropolitan Green Belt. It has been estimated that these deaths were due to man-made PM2.5 and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide). PM2.5 is considered to be the most harmful pollutant to human health, especially among the very young, the elderly and people with lung diseases.
The very next day, Parliament was debating the proposed amendments to the environmental law, which was first passed in 2018 and is seen as a key law on Twitter with the MP for Bromley & Chislehurst Sir Bob Neill, one of the speakers, “If we adhere to the environmental law our commitment to the WHO PM2.5 targets would send an important message … showing our determination to improve #AirQuality. ” However, at the last minute, the government decided to postpone the bill and it is unlikely to return to the Commons until the next parliamentary session, likely in the spring. However, the pressure remains to advocate binding targets for air pollution based on WHO limit values and to make them legally binding and enforceable.
Clean air strategies are also in the foreground at the regional level. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has actively implemented measures to combat environmental problems in London, for example in the world’s first ultra-low emission zone, while over 99% of London still exceeds the WHO air pollution limit. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) warned in 2020 that breathing London air is equivalent to smoking 150 cigarettes a year. Clean transport to combat NO2 pollution and reduce reliance on cars on London’s roads are important issues. The street space of the mayor and the TFL should offer bicycles and bicycles more space. The need to address these issues became apparent in the recent investigation into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah. It made legal history because it was the first time air pollution was recorded as a cause of death in the UK. Ella and her family lived just 25 meters from South Circular Road in Lewisham, where traffic pollution caused nitrogen dioxide levels to consistently exceed 40 µg / m3 annually between 2006 and 2010.
The Breathe London Network project, coordinated by London City Hall, seeks to address this problem head on by installing new air quality sensors in priority locations like schools and providing reliable air pollution data for use at the community level. Real-time air quality monitoring data is becoming an increasingly important way of instantly staying informed of your own location street by street. The Bromley Liberal Democrats have real-time air quality monitoring data on their website to keep residents informed. In addition, local Bromley campaign groups, including Liveable Bromley, Greener & Cleaner Bromley (& Beyond) and the Chislehurst Eco Community, regularly discuss local issues that affect our air quality, such as: B. local wood burners and the frequency of campfires. All of these have a detrimental effect on the air we breathe.
Finally, the Bromley Council Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) 2020-2025 follow-up report is due to be discussed by the council sometime this year. Given the Imperial College Report and last week’s delay in environmental law, this cannot come soon enough.