Reduce Air Pollution in the Borough of Tower Hamlets to the Legal and Safe Limits #OAOH

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Air quality of Tower Hamlets is a slow and invisible killer. Long term exposure to pollution is a vicious threat to our health. Exposure to toxic levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) during childhood has disturbing consequences, such as stunted lung growth and other life long health issues.

Over 60% of schools and colleges in Tower Hamlets are exposed to dangerous levels of NO2. Some of the worst effected primary schools also have large numbers of pupils from underprivileged backgrounds. This is both a social and environmental injustice.

Tower Hamlets Council has the power to tackle this urgent problem by creating a robust and proactive Air Quality Action Plan, to protect the health of the borough’s pupils but also has an opportunity to set an example to the rest of London. 

We have three actions for Tower Hamlets Council:

  • Tower Hamlets Council should make tackling air pollution its top environmental and health priority, to effectively reduce NO2 levels to at least the safe and legal limit of 40µg/m³ in the entire borough by January 2020. The Council should work closely with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority to implement the Mayor of London's Air Quality Strategy at a local level.
  • We advise the Council to focus their initial efforts on the areas surrounding the A13 and A12. Most of the schools which are in breach of the NO2 limits are in close proximity of these two roads. By reducing traffic and the use of diesel cars on these roads, the Council can rapidly reduce the health threats to pupils and residents living in Poplar, Bromley-By-Bow and Canary Wharf.
  • We ask the Council to actively encourage more cycling and walking in the borough, by increasing road safety for these users. Many living and working in Tower Hamlets feel it is not safe enough to cycle on the roads. There is also a lack of safe pedestrian crossings on main roads. We believe that air quality would improve in the borough if more priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists.


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