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January 6, 2023

An update on air quality published in the latest Putney Society bulletin has painted a gloomy picture of pollution around Putney High Street.

Dr Richard Carter, a member of the Society has been working with Environmental Health Officers from Wandsworth Council to measure NO2 levels in the centre of town.

Five months’ worth of data has been collected at seven Putney locations which he says shows consistent results with little variation month by month.

The good news is that the level of NO2 has remained well below the very high levels seen up to 2016 when hybrid buses were introduced on routes through the centre of Putney.

However, readings are still significantly exceeding the legal limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

Levels in Putney High Street are particularly high at 59.7 and 58.0 at two separate sits, and at the bottom of Putney Hill at 55.0, but Upper Richmond Road (47.5), and Putney Bridge Road (45.6) are also well over prescribed levels.

Chelverton Road by the bus garage and Lower Richmond Road are within the limit but above levels which the report says we should be comfortable with.

Dr Carter says that the results show that the closure of Hammersmith Bridge has not had a significant effect on NO2 levels in the Lower Richmond Road.

The report concludes, “Whatever the detail of these findings, the fact remains that the central roads in Putney are badly polluted to the detriment of the health all of us, and there is little sign that this will improve in the near future.”

At a Putney Society meeting held last November, local Greater London Assembly Representative Leonie Cooper gave a talk on transport issues. She pledged to lobby for Putney High Street to be the first site for a zero emission zone for buses.

Chart from the Putney Society bulletin showing air quality measures
Chart from the Putney Society bulletin showing air quality measures

Early this year a Citizens Assembly on Air Quality is to be held. This will aim to get a representative overview across the Borough on air quality issues, and how these should be tackled.

Initially thousands of invitation letters will be sent out to a cross section of the Borough's residents who can then register an interest. The Assemblies will take place over four Saturdays between February and late April. Results will be considered by the Council who will respond with either a commitment to take action or an explanation as to why they cannot.

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