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Agenda item

Air Pollution Update

Minutes:

Andrew Ford, Environmental Pollution Policy & Strategy Manager gave a presentation to the Committee, a copy of which was interleaved with the agenda, and responded to questions. The main points were as follows:

 

 

·       Islington is designated an air quality management area.  Its N02 levels exceed the EU limits across in over 60% of the borough.  Air quality is monitored around the main roads especially in south of the borough and in and around schools.

·       Overall pollution levels are falling in the borough and are likely to continue to do so as a result of current actions, particularly as many of the actions to tackle the climate emergency dovetail in with the actions to reduce air pollution. However, the Council is keeping an eye on ‘new’ sources of pollution such as commercial cooking which has been highlighted in recent research.

·       A combination of policies have been introduced at national, London-wide and borough level to influence air quality with the Government launching its new Environment Bill just before the General Election with a view to it coming back to Parliament on the 30th Jan 2020. The Bill will affect many areas that the committee deals with but in terms of air quality there are updates to the Clean Air Act and Smoke Control Zones as well as new powers around canal boats etc. There is much more of a focus on PM2.5 than previously and although the Council is currently meeting the UK/EU targets for PM2.5, this is not the case with the World Health Organisation limits

·       The introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019 resulted in a 30% reduction in N02 emissions. The meeting was informed of plans to strengthen the LEZ (Lorries, Vans and Buses) and ULEX by October 2020 and October 2021.

·       Further measures have been introduced in order to reduce air pollution and the Council continues to work with other boroughs, TfL, and the GLA to improve air quality.

·       Local programmes to mitigate poor air quality include the introduction of Air Text which forecast high pollution to enable subscribers to take action to avoid exposure, air quality audits near schools, the promotion of walking and cycling, anti-idling events and car free days. The meeting was informed that Council officers are working in conjunction with the Whittington Hospital regarding Clean Air Hospitals.

·       With regard to the Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) monitoring programme, a pan-London Project, members were advised that this relates to the use of heavy machinery, heavy construction vehicles and generators being used on construction sites as there is a recognition that it is a significant contributor to London’s air pollution.

·       New pollution modelling released by the GLA continues to show that large parts of the borough do not meet the UK/EU pollution targets for NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) and its air quality map particularly highlights that TfL roads are major sources of air pollution and they show high air pollution concentration. However, the modelling also shows that by 2025 the vast majority of Islington (and indeed London) will be meeting these limits (apart from some very small areas around some major road junctions most notably Kings Cross and the stretch of upper street from Angel station to Islington Green). This is largely due to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone expansion.
 

·       Members were advised that results from the first schools Air Quality Audits are  to be released by the London Mayor. Officers are working with community groups to design and distribute a Schools Clean Air Toolkit. Islington Council will be expanding the monitoring of air quality outside schools.


The Chair thanked the Air Pollution Manager for the update

 


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