Hounslow backs Mayor’s action on air quality

A report published last week shows how the Mayor’s bold measures to tackle London’s filthy air will benefit all Londoners, but particularly those living in the capital’s deprived areas. 

Published: Tuesday, 15th January 2019

Image of Feltham Pond.

Research has long indicated a strong link between air quality and social inequality, which the Mayor is determined to address alongside his work to protect the environment and improve the health of Londoners. London’s filthy air makes chronic illnesses worse, shortens life expectancy and damages lung development in children.

The report predicts that as a result of the Mayor’s action, no schools in the capital will be exposed to illegally high levels of air pollution by 2025. This is welcome news in Hounslow where at least two schools only allow restricted access to the outside playground for children because of concerns over air quality.

The Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, launching in the central London congestion zone on 8th April and expanding to the North and South circular in October 2021, is just one element of Sadiq’s bold strategy to improve Londoners’ health and protect the capital’s environment. It will play a significant part in achieving these improvements by removing the most polluting vehicles from the areas of poorest air quality.

The Mayor recently urged London’s drivers and business owners who drive in the London Congestion Charge Zone to check whether their vehicles comply with new, stricter emissions standards designed to tackle the capital’s toxic air, as the three-month countdown to the launch of the central London ULEZ began. Replacing the current Toxicity Charge, vehicles will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries) to travel within the zone. The Congestion Charge will be unchanged by the introduction of ULEZ and will continue to apply for all eligible vehicles entering the Congestion Charge zone. 

Alongside introducing the world’s first ULEZ, the Mayor is also cleaning up the capital’s bus and taxi fleets, rolling out rapid charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles, delivering improvements to some of London’s most polluted schools, planting thousands of new trees and funding a scrappage scheme to help micro-businesses prepare for ULEZ.

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Lead Member for Communities at Hounslow Council said:

“The Mayor’s ambitious plans to tackle air pollution across the capital are very encouraging.  Certain parts of our borough are exposed to heightened levels of pollution due to the very busy roads running through the borough’s boundaries.  While we continue to push for measures that would help improve air quality across the borough, such as a tightening up of the existing low emission zone at the GLA boundary, we acknowledge that the Mayor’s current plans extending ULEZ to the inner ring road will bring important air quality benefits for many in the borough.

“Air Quality is a key focus for us as a council and we are working hard with City Hall to implement our new Air Quality Action Plan.  Measures in the plan include introducing enforcement against idling engines, a target to double the number of Electric Vehicle charging points available and a number of initiatives to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and to actively encourage people to make their trips by less polluting modes of transport.”

“Many of these initiatives have been consulted on in more detail in recent weeks as part of our new transport strategy, known as the Local Implementation Plan.  As part of this we are the first borough to look in detail at introducing a Workplace Parking Levy for business employees around the Great West Road in Brentford as a means of raising funds for public transport infrastructure improvements in the area and to help provide a opportunities for people to leave their cars at home and travel by train or bus.  Improving air quality in this corridor forms a key motivation for this proposal.”

“Next month we are hosting our first ever Hounslow Air Quality Summit on the 26 February in the Holiday Inn in Brentford Lock from 12pm to 4.30pm.  This is a great opportunity for residents and businesses across the borough to join us to discuss our strategy and vision for the future and to put forward any questions they may have.”

The event is FREE of charge but places are limited so booking is essential.

For more information and to book your place go to: www.hounslow.gov.uk/airqualitysummit

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