The Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite introduced the report and noted:
· The Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) had taken on the greater significance since the government had published its unsatisfactory plans to tackle air pollution.
· There was a disproportionately high number of deaths caused by air pollution in London and Lambeth specifically.
· Lambeth had low levels of car ownership but was heavily affected by traffic pollution.
· Poor air quality disproportionately impacted on the most vulnerable in society and the AQAP was an ambition plan to reduce air pollution and improve residents’ lives.
· The AQAP was a living document and would continue to be developed over time. Councillors and officers would be required to give the plan proper consideration when delivering services and taking decisions. An AQAP Steering Group had also established to monitor the plan and ensure all actions were delivered.
· Lambeth would hold a Clean Air Week in June 2017, launch an Annual Residents’ Air Quality Conference and host a business round table talk to address poor air quality.
· If approved by Cabinet, the AQAP would be submitted to the Mayor of London for formal recognition.
· The Council’s Sustainability Team and green champions were thanked for their considerable work developing the plan.
The Sustainability Manager, Andrew Round, and Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, Raj Mistry, then provided the following information:
· The AQAP Steering Group helped develop the plan and comprised of local residents, green champions, NHS staff and representatives from the neighbourhood forums.
· An extensive consultation process had been carried out on the proposed plan.
Councillor Bernard Gentry then raised the following points on behalf of the Opposition:
· There was a shortage of charging point for electric vehicles in the borough. Many residents would be willing to switch to electric cars should more be provided.
· Speed restriction measures such as speed bumps and traffic lights led to increased traffic pollution.
· The Council’s anti-idling campaign was commended but more could be done to focus these messages on commercial vehicles.
· Changes to parking permit charges could be explored as a viable way to reduce traffic emissions.
· Temporary road closures around schools could also be investigated.
Officers responded to the points raised by Councillor Gentry, stating that:
· Lambeth did indeed have very low numbers of charging points for electric vehicles; however, officers were working on a project to review and increase the number provided. The technology involved was very new and the Council need to consider all options carefully before implementing any changes.
· There were a number of traffic calming measures used throughout the borough. The proportion of emissions caused by speed bumps was comparatively low when compared to other sources of air pollution in Lambeth.
Cabinet Members then asked a range of questions and made the following comments:
· The Lambeth AQAP brought together a range solutions for a multitude problems and was welcomed by Cabinet.
· Much could to be done to improve roads for people with disabilities, particularly those aged 18-35. Pavements were currently inaccessible for many wheelchair users.
· The Council should continue to promote the use of car clubs for residents.
· The AQAP should actively discourage the use and installation of wood-burning stoves. Commercial sellers of traditional coal and wood for burning should also be informed.
· The AQAP strongly complimented the Mayor of London’s plans to tackle poor air quality in London.
· Members would support any action to increase the number of charge points for electric cars in the borough.
· It was important to be able accurately measure the levels and impact of air quality in the borough.
· The Health and Wellbeing Board were treating air quality as an absolute priority and Lambeth was demonstrating local leadership by adopting the AQAP.
· It was positive to see the polluting impacts of construction tackled within the plan.
· Careful consideration would be required before any traffic calming measure were altered in the interests of reducing vehicle emissions.
· The consultation had generated no responses from 16-24 year olds and there had only been a limited response from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) citizens. These groups were at higher risk from the effects of poor air quality.
Officers provided the following information in response to comments and questions from members:
· The AQAP was a live document and could be revised to include discouragement of wood-burning stoves amongst residents and retailers.
· The Council had complete ownership of the AQAP.
· The wording of Action 18 had been amended to include young people aged 16-24. A new action point had also been created to enable closer working with Lambeth Youth Council.
· A new action point had also been created to work with local organisations to engage with the BME community to promote health and wellbeing regarding poor air quality.
· The Sustainability Team worked closely with Kings College and other organisations to collect data on nitrogen dioxide. A range of measures would be considered to improve the accuracy and recording of the data.
· The Council would consider options to for encouraging electric car use through controlled parking zone (CPZ) policy.
The Chair thanked Councillor Brathwaite and the Sustainability Team for their considerable work on the plan which brought a number of initiatives together. Particular thanks was expressed to Andrew Round.
1. To formally adopt the Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan 2017-2022.