The Strand, Westminster

Westminster City Council hosts Air Quality Action Day

Westminster City Council hosted an Air Quality Action Day on the Strand and Regent Street on Tuesday 15 June, which included a visit from the Smogmobile, an electric van fitted out with monitoring equipment to track air pollution.

The mobile lab
provides real time measurements of nitrogen dioxide emissions, particulates and black carbon to highlight the risks created by pollution from vehicles and engine idling.

Councillors were joined by a team of air marshals and other organisations, including a business improvement district (BID), business partnership and taxi drivers’ association, as they talked to drivers and shoppers about the impact of air pollution on their health and wellbeing.

The event was arranged by the council as part of a week of activities around Clean Air Day on 17 June, showcasing how the authority and its partners are working together to improve air quality for communities and create a greener and cleaner city.

Other activities throughout the week include an air quality monitor trial at local schools and Dr Bike drop-in sessions, where experienced mechanics assess and fix any bicycle issues, helping more people to cycle safely in the city. 

Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions in the UK, producing 1.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018, and some of the worst air pollution in the UK, with road transport contributing to more than half of the most dangerous emissions.

The authority said it impacts everyone who live, works in, or visits the city, disproportionately affecting Westminster’s most vulnerable communities, including children.

To play its part in reducing carbon emissions and to meet the UK’s national climate targets, Westminster City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has outlined plans to become a carbon neutral council by 2030, as well as a carbon neutral city by 2040.

Westminster City Council has also adopted a Smart City agenda, which focuses on embracing new technology to improve services for residents and to solve issues, such as poor air quality.

The council recently installed its 1,000th electric vehicle charge point and is on track to deliver a further 500 chargers by April 2022.

Commenting, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Regeneration, Councillor Heather Acton said:

“Westminster suffers with some of the worst air pollution in the country, so to mark this Clean Air Day, we are working with our partners to highlight how poor air quality can affect our health and encouraging residents and visitors to take action.

“Westminster is leading the way on measures to improve air quality and reduce our carbon emissions, from our diesel surcharge scheme and Don’t Be Idle campaign, to our Schools Clean Air Fund and investing in electric vehicle infrastructure.

“We are making it easier for residents and visitors to choose sustainable transport options, taking action to improve the air that we all breathe and working together to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions.”

PSE will be hosting a Public Sector Decarbonisation event on 9 September. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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