Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has visited Islington to raise awareness of the high levels of air pollution in the borough. Jean visited Highbury Barn and Blackstock Road, two of the most polluted roads in the area, which have pollution levels of nitrogen dioxide almost 75 per cent above the safe legal limit . She was joined by local Green campaigner, Caroline Allen, and members of the Islington Green Party.
Pollution levels at Blackstock Road, the site of one of London’s many air pollution monitors, are currently rated as ‘Very High’, by the Government’s Daily Air Quality Index. At this level, the Government advises that adults and children should reduce all physical exercise outdoors, such is the concentration of airborne pollutants, whilst those with asthma are warned that they may have to use their inhaler more frequently.
NO2 and other forms of vehicle-related air pollution have recently been linked to higher rates fo asthma in children and to cardio-vascular disease. Worryingly, pollution levels at child height have been found to be double those at the height of adults.
Caroline Allen said: ‘”Yesterday I woke with itchy eyes and a sore throat; when I saw the air pollution data I realised why. It is not acceptable that the residents of Islington are having their health damaged in this way. Islington has very high levels of hospital admissions for asthma and other respiratory disease and I’m angry that nothing is being done, maybe because air pollution an invisible killer. The Council thinks we should accept this as a consequence of living in an Inner City Borough – that’s a shocking attitude”.
Jean said: “Air pollution causes more than 4,300 premature deaths in London every year, and research tells us that at a child’s height, the pollution levels can be twice as bad for adults. Yet instead of tackling pollution and the health risks it poses, the Mayor of London seems intent on ‘tricking’ air monitoring stations and finding ever new ways to sidestep EU legislation; laws which are aimed at protecting the public from this invisible health crisis. Citizen’s health must come first, and City Hall must take every effort to clean London’s air without delay.”
Notes to Editor
1. Nitrogen dioxide levels are up to 75 per cent higher than EU limits according to new research conducted by Mapping for Change – a social enterprise that exists to support the development of sustainable communities.