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London’s air quality survey: three good reasons to take part

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London air quality survey

There’s just one week to go to respond to the Mayor of London’s survey on air quality (closing date Friday 29 July). 

UPDATE: Read our response here

If you are one of the millions who live, work or travel in London, here are three good reasons to take part.

1) It’s important: air pollution is a national health emergency, and at its worst in London.

Lethal and illegal levels of air pollution are causing a health crisis in London and across the UK, causing thousands of premature deaths as well as life-limiting conditions, particularly for children exposed to pollution with homes and schools near fume-filled roads.

London is the dirty diesel capital of Europe. Its main roads break EU legal standards on pollution every year. Action is long overdue.

The legal case brought by Client Earth has added further pressure on the Government to act nationally. London is not the only city that needs to take action, but it makes sense to act first where the air is worst. 

2) It’s a chance to speak up for greener transport and against polluting new roads

Vehicle emissions are the main contributor to air pollution, so greener transport policies are essential to tackle the problem. We know that lab tests for diesel engines don't work in the real world and private cars won't go electric overnight. 

The urgency of the problem, and its growing political profile, are a great opportunity to advocate for the policies that can help – like investing in proper networks for walking and cycling, greening the bus and taxicab fleet, providing more and better electric charging points.

It’s also an opportunity to oppose ideas that will hurt, in particular plans for new roads like the Silvertown Tunnel and other road-based river crossings.

3) It’s a chance to pioneer policies that work for everyone

We’ve seen how one city can lead the way for others. London’s Docklands Light Railway is an exemplar of light rail leading regeneration, and helped herald a generation of new urban trams. Nottingham has made its Workplace Parking Levy a success and is now inspiring Cambridge to follow suit.

London’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone, and additional "t-charge" for the most polluting vehicles, are policies that could work elsewhere. Combining these in a vehicle passport for central London could show the way to smart road pricing, managing congestion as well as pollution, just as the Oystercard is already a model for smart ticketing.

The more voices speaking up for urgent action on air pollution, by embracing greener travel and pioneering policy solutions, the better our chance of getting real change, not only in London but across the country as a whole.

Have your say

The Mayor’s air quality survey is online – you need to register for a free Talk London account to take part.

The online survey is the recommended way to respond, but if you prefer not to register, then you can email your comments to glaairquality@london.gov.uk.

Join the campaign

As partners in the Healthy Air Campaign, Campaign for Better Transport supports action on air pollution.

Every community is entitled to clean air. Campaigning for better, sustainable transport is a vital part of this.