8 May 2017
Today, Islington Green Party launched four key pledges to improve the air we breathe and tackle the rising levels of pollution across the borough.
The pledges are the first set of policy announcements from Islington the Green Party in the run up to the General Election on 8th June. The Greens, Islington’s second party, have promised to:
The pledges coincide with new air pollution monitoring data revealed today by the Greens and Tufnell Park Parents that showed that the air in the borough is worse than ever and is breaching EU standards.
100 diffusion tubes were installed by concerned residents across Islington to measure levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). A key aspect of air pollution, nitrogen dioxide is linked to a range of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses that are particularly harmful to children, older people and those with existing health conditions such as asthma and heart and lung disease. Road vehicle emissions, and particularly diesel engines, are major contributors to NO2 in the air.
Once analysed, 55 of the diffusion tubes showed that NO2 levels had breached EU legal limits. The legal limit for NO2 is 40ug/m3. Four of the tubes indicated NO2 levels at over twice the legal limit, with one showing NO2 levels at almost three times the EU maximum level.
The highest NO2 levels were found at the following locations:
The testing follows a public meeting in February, organised by Islington Greens in association with Tufnell Park Parents to discuss and find solutions to Islington’s heavily polluted air. The meeting heard from Rod Gonggrijp of Tufnell Park Parents who have been conducting their own ‘citizen science’ projects to measure pollution levels across the borough since 2012 with the latest results from their testing in March revealed today.
As well as hearing about NO2 testing carried out at the end of 2016, the Green Party meeting also distributed another 16 diffusion tubes to concerned residents who installed them at various points across the borough. They were then analysed by students at UCL and these results are also being revealed today.
Islington’s Air is Becoming More Polluted
Comparing the data from the recent community testing to results taken in 2013, 15 out of the 17 repeated testing spots showed an increase of NO2 of up to 156% which suggests that the levels of NO2 in Islington’s air are getting worse.
Green Party councillor and parliamentary candidate for Islington North, Caroline Russell, said: “Islington’s air pollution is getting worse year on year and action must be taken now. Only last week the Government was forced by the High Court to issue plans for how it will reduce air pollution levels after years of stalling and using the current election to delay action even longer. Their feeble plans simply do not go far enough. We need a new Clean Air Act, we need to bring forward and expand London’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone to make it cover the whole of the capital and we must invest in public transport, walking and cycling. With air pollution responsible for the early deaths of around 9,000 Londoners per year, it is crucial that politicians take the decisions that will clean up our air so we can trust the air we breathe.”
Tufnell Park Parents Demand Action
Rod Gonggrijp of Tufnell Park Parents, said; “The Tufnell Park Parents’ pollution testing was carried out by local residents worried about their health and that of others; especially the elderly and the young. They were taking matters into their own hands because they did not feel that the growing concern around air pollution was being taken seriously enough by the national government and local authorities.
“Citizen science projects such as these are leading the way in community efforts to combat air pollution but action must be taken at national and local levels. There was a lot of interest in the project across the area and more than 20 people, including several children, participated in putting up the measuring tubes and then retrieving them three weeks later. Air pollution is affecting the health of us all and our families and we are calling on politicians to take real action and not delay or dilute the action that is desperately needed.”