More than 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year from causes related to air pollution with deprived, black and brown communities suffering disproportionately from the poorest air quality.
Whilst national and regional policy on tackling air pollution is beginning to strengthen, the level of commitment to tackle pollution varies widely among policymakers. Those in more deprived communities tend to have weaker pollution-busting policies.
The people who are most affected by air pollution in London need a stronger voice, to help champion faster and stronger progress.
Cleaner air for communities empowers representatives of polluted neighbourhoods to raise their voices in shaping policy. Since 2012, we have supported communities across London (and beyond) to measure, map, and take action on air pollution.
What are the solutions?
The solutions to air pollution are often found in helping communities to work collaboratively with local authorities, planners, businesses and other organisations.
Our work has increased the involvement of people with lived experience of air pollution in campaigning, finding solutions and advocating for better air quality.
Working with Trust for London, we are supporting community groups in three London boroughs through a ‘cycle of action’ from listening to the community and collecting air pollution data through citizen science to developing and implementing a local action plan and engaging decision-makers.
- Formed alliances of groups and individuals to learn about, measure and map air pollution.
- Raised awareness of air pollution with schools, faith and community groups, reaching thousands of Londoners.
- Developed Air Quality Exchange, a network of more than 2,000 people to share best practice of air pollution.
- Protected vulnerable sites from air pollution; including schools and playgrounds.
- Identified air pollution 'hot spots'.
- Engaged with trade unions and local businesses, including a 'Close the Door' campaign to protect shop workers from air pollution.
- Convened public meetings and citizen assemblies to engage policy makers in discussions about air pollution.
- Had pledges and policies adopted by local decision makers.
- Collected evidence to fight planning applications and developments.
- Responded to scores of public consultations with the input of hundreds of citizens through convening events.
Election accountability in Barnet
Barnet candidates standing for the 2022 Council Election, were presented with a manifesto rooted in the experience of thousands of people from across the London Borough of Barnet.
The newly elected administration adopted the following clean air asks:
- Declared a climate emergency in Barnet
- Setting up a Citizen's Assembly on climate change
- Joined the London Anti-Idling Campaign
- Planned 20 new locations of electric vehicle charging bays
- Raised awareness of air pollution with an anti-idling school event as part of Clean Air Day 2022
"We all know how important clean air is for our health, that of our children, local environment, and the communities we live in. We have declared a climate emergency in Barnet and are committed to establishing a Citizens Assembly on Climate Change to tackle poor air quality and out sustainability at the forefront of what we do."
- Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings
Trees and Ice-creams in Tower Hamlets
Clean Air Champions presented air quality asks at the 2019 Tower Hamlets Mayoral Assembly. Mayor John Biggs committed to tackling idling ice-cream trucks in Victoria Park - a concern raised by the local community, as well as installing electric charging points to allow exhaust-free charging.
A Tower Hamlets primary school, located on a busy A-road, created a green screen to protect children from exhaust fumes, alongside a wider engagement campaign.
"The campaign is brilliant. Really great opportunity, glad that we can be a part of it. This is an important steppingstone to making sure the air in our community is cleaner for everybody. This is especially so for a community with such a large elderly or young population. Cleaner air means healthier and happier people in our community."
Project champion, Barnet
"I am very glad to have come across this project which provides focus as well as improved awareness and knowledge on air pollution. There is a huge amount of work that needs to be done in Enfield to inform and bring together local residents and the different community groups, and the support from Global Action Plan is much needed to make progress in this vital area affecting our health and wellbeing."
Project champion, Enfield