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What we are doing to improve air quality in Lewisham

Air pollution is a public health emergency. We are determined to tackle this emergency and this page provides a snapshot of the work we are doing to improve air quality for everyone.

The Council priorities has been to focus on behavioural change, providing a focused approach with vulnerable receptors like children, schools, transport and infrastructure projects coupled with an evidenced based approach.

  • We have declared climate emergency on making Lewisham carbon neutral by 2030.
  • We are encouraging residents to take up walking and cycling by improving our roads with new segregated cycle routes in Deptford.
  • In July, Mayor and Cabinet agreed to adopt the Low Emission Vehicle Charging Strategy to ensure that everyone in the borough is no further than 500m from an electric vehicle charge point by 2020.
  • We are campaigning to extend the ultra-low emission zone to cover the whole borough to ensure everyone benefits from improved air quality.
  • We have compiled a draft air quality action plan due to be adopted and are working with local head teachers and parents to reduce air pollution around schools. We are doing this by supporting road closures outside schools, launching anti-idling (leaving the car engine running while parked) campaigns and installing green or living walls that provide a barrier to air pollution. We are taking part on the Mayor's Air Quality fund - a project to take action onidling.
  • We are one of 31 local councils who are tackling engine idling as part of Idling action London project, supported by the Mayor of London. Find out more about Idling Action London project.

  • We are offering primary schools free opportunities to take part in air pollution anti-idling workshops, as part of the project and offering free resources and toolkits to businesses and community groups who want to help tackle this avoidable source of air pollution.

  • If you are a business, school or community group interested in tackling engine idling, you can sign up to the engine off pledge.

  • We are investing in green spaces across the borough whether that is new green spaces such as Charlottenberg Park in New Cross, the transformation of Beckenham Place Park or the introduction of the Greening Fund that allows local community groups to bid up to £40,000 for green infrastructure. .

  • We are taking part on Mayor's Air Quality funded Non-Road Mobile Machinery Zone enforcement – a pan-London project to inspect construction sites in every borough to ensure they are using the cleanest construction equipment.
  • We are taking part on the Mayor's Air Quality funded Healthy Streets Every day – a project spanning 16 plus boroughs, which will deliver 250 car free and pedestrianisation initiatives or events over three years
  • We have worked with King’s College London to produce a free app – Lewisham Air – that provides information on local air quality, across London. An Air Quality Champion has been appointed by the Mayor which has shown the political importance and commitment to this issue. The Lewisham Air App was launched in April 2018, as a free service for Lewisham residents to provide pollution alerts, with tailored heath advice and also an active mapping service for travel to reduce air pollution exposure. Health professionals share information at routine health appointments with people with chronic respiratory conditions. The app can provide push alerts notifying residents about local air quality while also allowing them to plan travel routes across London, which avoid areas of low air quality.
  • We have introduced our healthy neighbourhood programme that is aiming to reduce traffic by installing infrastructure such as modal filters (barriers at the end of roads that prevents cars from passing through, but allow cyclists through). This programme will make our streets more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists, while improving air quality. The first scheme in Lewisham and Lee Green started in May and is currently out for community consultation and consultation for our second scheme in east Sydenham started in June.
  • We are part of the round 3 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ Cleaner Air Villages that support businesses in reducing pollutionand congestion.
  • We have expanded our network of air quality monitoring. A new site has been set up in Deptford which increases the continuous monitoring sites to five. The sites were  increased to includeDeptford site, Cross field Street. Priority will be given to installing further monitors to measure Particular Matter and PM2.5 in particular to meet the new WHO targets by 2030.
  • We are maintaining and extending our diffusion tube monitoring networks because there are critical for understanding where pollution is most acute, and what measures are effective to reduce pollution.
  • A new state of the art supersite funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and led by NERC Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), has recently been setup at Honor Oak Park sportsground. This site was setup for research purposes and measures the physical and chemical composition of particles, the toxic gases in the atmosphere and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
  • We are compiling our draft air quality action plan due to be consulted on for adoption by December 2021, and are working with local head teachers and parents to reduce air pollution around schools. We are doing this by supporting road closures outside schools, launching anti-idling (leaving the car engine running while parked) campaigns alongside the TFL STARS accredited travel planning programme. We are taking part in the pan London Mayor's Air Quality fund - a project to take action on idling.

Lewisham Air Quality Action plan 2016 - 2021 is under review and to be completed by 2021. Progress on our Air Quality Action plan is presented in our Annual status report.

For more information on what we are doing to improve the air quality in the borough, please see the May 2019 air quality action update: