Monday, 1 July 2013

Streatham's air pollution monitor back in business

Lambeth Council has bowed to pressure from green campaigners, and reversed its decision to leave the London Air Quality Network. This means that data from the air pollution monitor at Streatham Green will be available again.

Local residents have had no access to information about their polluted air since the Council withdrew its participation in the scheme. The scheme makes data from its air quality monitoring stations public and enables progress, or deterioration, in air quality to be measured.

The Green Party exposed the move by the Council to withdraw from the network in April 2012. Lambeth Council made the move without any public announcement, and in the middle of some of the highest pollution levels in the borough in recent times.

The Green Party has since been campaigning for the Council to make its data publicly available again. This included raising the issue at the London Assembly level and with the London Mayor (see for example here, here, here and here). The Green Party also measured pollution levels in the surrounding streets, highlighting that air pollution was at dangerous levels.

The London Mayor estimates that there are 4,600 premature deaths each year due to air pollution. Clean Air London estimates that there have been over 50 deaths already this year in Lambeth alone.

The London Air Quality Network has announced that Lambeth has now returned to the London Air Quality Network.

"Lambeth's three monitoring sites at Brixton High Street, Vauxhall and Stretham Green provide important coverage in the south-east of the network and help to define the spatial distribution of concentrations across London. All three sites were reviewed in the recent 'Strategic review of air quality monitoring in London' report" The Network said in a statement.

It also pointed out that in 2010 the kerbside site on Brixton High Street recorded the highest NO2 average emissions..

In addition, the particulate monitor at Vauxhall was one of only two stations on the network to exceed the PM10 annual mean of 40 ug/m3 in 2010 and also recorded 80 breaches of the daily threshold of 50 ug/m3.

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