Thursday 23 July 2015

Rosemary Pettit To Chair New Independent H&F Air Quality Commission

H&F suffers five of the country's air pollution black-spots
Hammersmith Flyover is the fifth worst air pollution black-spot in the country and the borough suffers four of the UK’s other worst areas for filthy air.

At the end of June I asked Rosemary Pettit to chair The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Air Quality Commission which she kindly agreed to do. That independent commission will examine the problems and recommend a comprehensive series of actions for the council to consider and undertake.

Rosemary is a non-political appointment. Until last month she chaired the Hammersmith Society and prior to that she was the membership secretary of the Brackenbury Residents Association. She will lead a review that engages both experts and residents from across the borough in one of the most important but low profile issues affecting all of us.

Air pollution is a silent killer. It’s linked to lung and heart conditions, breast cancer and diabetes. The health problems air pollution causes is estimated to cost the UK up to £20 billion a year to treat.

Roughly 30,000 Britons are believed to die prematurely each year because of the UK’s dirty air and London’s air is the filthiest with the 50 top worst black-spots in the country.

All of us who live and work in London breathe in unhealthy levels of the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The UK signed up to the European Union’s limit of 40 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre on average per year. The latest figures demonstrate that people living, working or simply passing by Hammersmith Flyover are breathing in air that has 114 micrograms of NO2 in it. Other spots around the Westway were also well over EU safe limits. That can’t be allowed to continue.

You can find out about air quality near your home, work or children’s school by checking this excellent website.

Where we can, we try to work with residents rather than having their council do things to them. There are a number of resident led and independent working parties working with us to develop better policies across a range of areas.

It’s important that H&F Council take a different approach to improving our air pollution and also encourages the GLA and the government to find greener solutions too. I am grateful to Rosemary and the other people that will join her on this critically important piece of work.

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