Six South London councils have teamed up to launch an air quality website in what is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the capital.
Bromley, Croydon, Lewisham, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth have launched the www.lovecleanair.org site to help demystify the issue of air pollution in the local area and educate the public on what they can do to help.
“We got the idea from Sheffield’s Care4Air website”, explained Linda Johnson, senior environmental consultant at Croydon council, who has pioneered the project. The Care4Air website is part of the award-winning South Yorkshire Clean Air Campaign and promotes air quality in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
“We all had the same problem in that there is a lack of air quality information that you are allowed to put on a council website so we put in a bid to Defra for funding which was approved. Now we have done it maybe other cluster groups will do the same”.
The Love Clean Air website contains extensive information to help people learn more about air quality and features local air quality maps, an interactive diagram of air pollutants and their sources, and videos about the issue and its health implications for the capital. It is intended to encourage residents to change their behaviour to improve air quality, through actions such as pumping their tyres up and not engine idling.
“As an outer London borough we have a lot of problems with things like school traffic idling. It is things like that that we want to stop people doing,” explained Ms Johnson.
Although Love Clean Air is aimed at the general public, its educational content and interactivity will mean that schools can use it as a resource for pupils.
The website is distinct from the Cleaner Air for London website which has been produced by the Mayor of London and London boroughs to promote air quality London-wide.
Councillor Mark Watson, Croydon council’s cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “Air quality is an incredibly important issue that affects everyone who lives, works or travels in South London.
“We are tackling it in many ways, including the use of things such as this website, which helps inform people about how poor levels of air quality can be damaging to their health, as well as to our environment and the nation’s economy.
“The Love Clean Air website will provide residents across South London with access to practical, helpful information about air quality in their neighbourhoods.”
The six councils involved in the production of the Love Clean Air website work in partnership as ‘Love Clean Air South London’.
The new website, which is fully optimised for mobile and tablet devices, was launched through a public engagement event taking place as part of Lewisham People’s Day in Mountsfield Park on Saturday (July 12).
Steve Dupree, head of digital at Diva Creative, which designed both the South London and South Yorkshire sites, said: “It has been great to work on a project that can help make a real difference to the day-to-day lives of residents and visitors in the city.
“We have worked on air quality campaigns elsewhere before, but due to its size London obviously faces more challenges than other areas. Helping develop such a practical yet innovate resource for a large part of the city is something our team is very proud of.”