Ealing’s efforts to improve air quality awarded

mol_cab_logo_rgb_faEaling Council has been awarded the ‘Cleaner Air Borough’ (CAB) accreditation by the Mayor of London following a range of initiatives designed to monitor and reduce pollution in the borough.

All London boroughs are required to monitor air quality in their areas and take actions to improve it. They have to report on their progress every year. The CAB status is only given to boroughs that can prove they are effectively tackling the issue.

Much of Ealing’s pollution comes from its geographical location, with London and the south east generally suffering from poorer air quality than the rest of the country. However, its proximity to major roads such as the A40, A4020 and A406, the impact of diesel trains travelling through the borough plus local industrial sites also add to its problems, some of which can be addressed at a borough-level and some of which cannot.

The CAB accreditation recognises that many air quality issues are outside of the council’s influence, so it is not a measure of overall air quality. Rather it recognises how seriously the council takes the problem and gives credit for its achievements in making a difference where it can.

Ealing Council was particularly congratulated for its work with the Ealing Broadway Business Improvement District (BID) to reduce journeys made by waste collection vehicles in the town centre. A special scheme brought together 105 businesses to buy their waste collection and pest control services jointly, instead of buying them separately resulting in 8,650 fewer vehicle journeys over a year.

Previously, the council has also undertaken to include a ‘no idling’ trial in Acton and the replacement of traffic signals with mini roundabouts to reduce the levels of pollution emitted from idling vehicles. It also continues to fund and promote sustainable transport measures, especially support for and promotion of cycling.

In addition, the council drew up a low emission strategy for the goods yard in Horn Lane, Acton; which until recently was a pollution hotspot where air quality frequently exceeded EU limits. Under the strategy local industries signed up to a voluntary agreement on more effective dust management plans.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, said: “The CAB accreditation recognises the work that we are doing to make the borough cleaner and safer for local people. Pollution is a silent killer and has a devastating effect on health, especially for children. We take the problem very seriously and are using a range of measures to tackle it.

“Unfortunately, many of the sources of pollution in the borough are outside of our influence, but we are working with local organisations and residents to make as much of a difference as we can and we will use our enforcement powers when people break the law. Local people can make a big difference by changing the way they travel. If more people switched to walking, cycling or public transport, especially for short journeys, it would help to reduce the levels of pollution, particularly in our town centres.”

For more information on the Cleaner Air Boroughs accreditation, go towww.london.gov.uk/airquality. Air pollution problems, including dust odours from commercial premises, can be reported online by going to www.ealing.gov.uk and searching ‘air quality’.