Local environmental consortium Kingston Environment Forum (KEF) has just published its latest statement, on local air pollution, an environmental problem that affects everyone, here and now. Air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, asthma and even cancer, and it has been estimated that there is a 12-year reduction in life span for those living near busy roads. Air pollution is particularly damaging for children, whose lungs are still developing,

Air quality was a big public health issue in the London mayoral election, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has already begun actions intended to reduce pollution, which in Greater London, including Kingston, comes mainly from emissions from road traffic. Kingston Environment Forum hopes that the Mayor’s planned improvements, for example extension of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone, will extend as far as Kingston, and also that Kingston Council will implement its Air Quality Action Plan as speedily as possible.

The KEF statement includes sections on: The Air Pollution Problem – Killer Facts; The Greater London and Kingston Contexts; Kingston’s Air Quality Action Plan; Concerns and Questions; and Ten Recommended Actions for Kingston Council. It also contains many links to further reading on the issue.

KEF’s Ten Recommended Actions for Kingston Council (in Section 6 of the document) include: tackling traffic congestion by consulting on 20mph speed limits throughout the borough and encouraging and incentivising car-sharing and car clubs; deterring idling (idling car engines are very polluting): trialling car-free Sundays in town centres; encouraging cycling and walking; encouraging low emission vehicles with, for example, plenty of charging points and by persuading TfL to move to low emission buses in the suburbs as quickly as possible; using Council communications to promote sustainable transport and trees and other greenery, and to emphasise that everyone, including drivers, would benefit from less traffic and less pollution.

KEF is pleased to see that Kingston Council recently approved an Air Quality Action Plan as it is much needed - some roads in Kingston have air pollution well above the legal limits and one of our schools was recently among the worst 50 in London for air quality - but we believe that even more could be done to improve the air we breathe. And it’s not just the Council that should act, it’s all of us. 

Notes for editors

For further comment and information contact: Chair, Marilyn Mason

Read KEF’s full statement on local air quality and Kingston Council’s 2016 air quality action plan athttp://e-voice.org.uk/kef/assets/other/kef-statement-on-local-air-qua