Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Lambeth Council withdraws from London Air Quality Network

It seems that Lambeth council are following Mayor of London Boris Johnson's lead in their strategy to deal with air pollution - making it harder for the public to get the evidence that it exists.

In an extremely worrying development, Lambeth council has withdrawn from the London Air Quality Network which previously monitored pollution levels in the borough and across London.

Without any public announcement, and in the middle of some of the highest pollution levels in the borough in recent times, Lambeth Council appears to have quietly left the scheme on 1st April. This has been confirmed by the Air Quality Network itself.

Where pollution levels were recorded from three monitoring stations in the borough, all that now appears is a message saying "Lambeth does not participate in the London Air Quality Network. For information convering air quality in Lambeth please contact the council directly."

However, Lambeth Council has itself not listed an annual air quality report since 2009, and holds no information about air quality levels on its website. This development is particularly disturbing as we recently measured pollution levels in residential roads around Lambeth as being of similar levels to those on its busiest streets. Lambeth also closed both the Lambeth 3 (Loughborough Junction) and Lambeth 1 (Christchurch Road ) automatic monitoring stations in 2009 due to "budgetary constraints".

Both the Government and the Mayor accept that over 4,000 people in London die prematurely each year because of air pollution. Lambeth Council has so far resisted calls to let people know about pollution episodes when their occur.

[Update: 11/4/2012 A couple of people have pointed out that Lambeth might now put their monitoring data on the Air Quality England site. A few local authorities do this. Lambeth have not (yet). I am making some enquiries and see whether there are any plans to do so ]

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