Newham Council has voted to adopt a new Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for the five years 2019-2024 and declare the whole borough an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
Newham has one of the highest rates of deaths attributable to poor air quality and for hospital asthma admissions for Under 9s in London, and the local authority says moving to a whole borough AQMA allows the council to expand the air quality monitoring network from main roads to cover all areas of Newham including schools.
As part of the plan, Newham is piloting a road closure scheme to traffic during the busy school run and is monitoring the impact of these trial closures, using new real-time mobile air quality monitors.
This supplements the recent rollout of air quality monitoring outside every primary and secondary school in Newham and will inform future measures to reduce exposure to toxic air.
The air quality action plan contains 25 key action areas across all council service areas to mitigate and improve poor air quality. The full plan includes actions to:
- Improve walking and cycling infrastructure
- Raise awareness of the negative impact of car idling especially outside schools and on busy high streets
- Green audit of all council services and vehicle fleet management
- Minimising pollution from construction site machinery
- Improving energy-efficient lighting to housing and new developments
- Install more charging points to encourage electric vehicle take-up.
Since 2002, every main road within the borough has been under an AQMA.