More To Be Done on Air Quality Says Putney Society

Says that pollution on the High Street remains 'dangerously high'

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Putney High Street regularly congested


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While recognising progress has been made in improving air pollution on Putney High Street, the Putney Society is warning that levels remain ‘dangerously high’.

Air pollution statistics have recently been published, including provisional data for the average level of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution in Putney High Street for 2021.

A statement issued by the Society says, “The most important point which needs to be said is that air pollution in Putney High Street remains dangerously high, causing the premature deaths of hundreds of people, and serious ill health for many more. NO2 pollution here is still over five times higher than the World Health Organisation limit. That WHO limit is not a 'nice to have'; there is substantial scientific research showing that levels of NO2 pollution even lower than the WHO limit still cause damage to human health.

“Anyone who suffers from asthma or any other respiratory condition should be especially alarmed.

“Sadly, it also remains true that our High Street is one of the most highly polluted streets in the whole of London. In fact, the 2021 average level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in Putney High Street was the second highest of all the monitoring stations in London (only Brixton Road was worse).”

However, the Society acknowledges that there has been big improvements in air quality particularly since the introduction of hybrid buses on the High Street in 2017. However, over the last few years they claim there has been close to zero progress with apparently reductions in 2020 and 2021 more likely to be down to the reductions in traffic due to pandemic lockdowns.

It says, “We acknowledge that the Council have been taking other actions to try to improve our air quality. But the evidence suggests that so far these have had little or no impact on the air pollution in our High Street. The Council also plan further measures which the Putney Society welcomes, especially Differential Parking Charges (which we have been advocating for seven years). Much more vigorous action is still needed; we have put forward several proposals, to both the Council and the Mayor.”

The Society is advising those at risk from poor air quality to take precautions including minimising the time spent on the High Street during peak traffic hours worst (generally between 7am and 7pm on weekdays. It also recommends walkingk along the side of the pavement closest to the shop fronts, keeping as far away from the vehicle traffic as you can.

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March 4, 2022

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