School children join Mayor to highlight need for action on Air Quality

Air Quality Consultation -5

Air Quality consultation event

Local residents and school children joined the Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and lead member Cllr Rachel Blake to discuss the Air Quality Action Plan currently being consulted on.

Last month, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets launched a public consultation on new measures to tackle poor air quality locally. Some schools in the borough are among the most polluted in the city and around 9,500 Londoners die each year due to the high levels of pollution across the capital. We still want to hear from you about what the we can do to limit air pollution in the borough as it is one of Mayor John Biggs’s top priorities. The consultation which started last month is asking for feedback on a range of plans including:

• Increase usage of low emissions transport by installing electric vehicle charge points
• Target pollution hotspots to improve the environment of neighbourhoods
• Greater engagement with businesses and schools to help reduce their own impact on air pollution

The meeting started with a song and poem about air quality from the children who attend Chisenhale Primary School in Bow. The children were asked to come and share their concerns as we know air quality is an issue for head teachers and children at 48 of our primary and secondary schools across the borough.

Mayor John Biggs said: “Meeting residents and hearing their concerns only cements my view that tackling air pollution should remain a major priority for the council. It’s unacceptable that some of our local schools are among the most polluted in the city, and that people in Tower Hamlets are twice as likely to die from lung cancer and other lung diseases than people in London’s most well off boroughs. Whilst this problem will only really be solved by national government, we are committed to doing all we can locally to improve our air quality and protect our residents from the worst effects.  Improving air quality is a matter of social justice and an urgent public health priority. We know that pollution has the worst impact on the young and in deprived areas.

Cllr Rachel Blake, Cabinet Member for Strategic Development, said: “Thanks to all the residents who attended the consultation event and who have responded already to the consultation, improving air quality is a top priority for the whole Council as it affects our residents’ life chances. It is great that residents want us to go even further to improve Air Quality by taking additional actions in the Plan, such as being tougher on engine idling and air quality along the canals. The consultation will have feedback from local residents, teachers and businesses so that we can build on those views to move forward and improve air quality together.”

We are currently working to reduce air pollution through its core work of monitoring, taking action to reduce emissions, raising awareness and partnership working and lobbying. The consultation will close on Thursday, 27 July. You can give your views on Air Quality in the Borough here.

Posted on Wednesday 19th July 2017