Cllr Claudia Webbe, Member for Environment and Transport, blogs about tackling poor air quality.
Here in Islington we have already been working for years to tackle poor air quality. From the first ever borough-wide 20mph speed limit, action on engine idling, introducing a diesel surcharge on parking permits, to support for businesses to reduce emissions - the Labour-run council has been implementing measures that make a difference.
Sadly, the Tory Government is still refusing to fully engage with the dangers that continued poor air quality poses to local people. The courts had to intervene to force the Government to publish its plan to improve air quality, which has been described as ‘woeful’. The Government’s reluctance to take a lead on this issue makes it clear that the election on 8th June is a chance for a clean start on air quality.
We need a Labour Government that will back the Mayor of London’s calls for a diesel scrappage scheme to remove the oldest polluting cars from London’s roads. We then need to go further and for Islington Labour’s calls for all diesel vehicles to be banned from London by 2025 to be accepted. But we also need a Labour Government that will fight hard to maintain the important environmental safeguards we currently receive from the European Union and that commits to fully implementing the Paris climate agreement.
In Islington we understand that tackling the real causes of poor air quality – polluting diesel buses, lorries and cars – is not just a public health campaign, it’s a social justice campaign because poorer residents live closer to the most polluting roads. It’s no wonder then that the Tories are failing to take action when their focus is on the few, unlike Labour who is standing up for the many.
Pictured - Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Islington Council