Bangla sanglap desk: Newham Council has launched an information campaign to encourage residents to take action on improving air quality in the borough.
The campaign, Helping Newham to Breathe Easier, is aimed at highlighting how choosing to park the car at home and opt for greener transport options like walking and cycling can benefit the environment.
Councillor James Asser, Newham’s Cabinet member for environment, highways, and sustainable transport, said: “Improvements in air quality during lockdown have shown us the positive impact of fewer cars on our roads. And although some restrictions have been relaxed, it’s vital that we maintain and build on the improvements to the quality of the air that we breathe.
“There has been a 40 per cent reduction in road traffic due to Covid-19 lockdown, and a corresponding 50 per cent reduction in noxious nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in our busiest roads – an incredible achievement and one that we are determined to build on.”
Among the proposals to help Newham breathe easier is to introduce new emissions-based charging for parking permits, with the first permit to be free for electric and most plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Councillor Asser said: “Emissions from vehicles are the major contributor to the borough’s poor air quality and parking policies and procedures have the ability to influence the number, type and the use of vehicles and can be an important tool in delivering behavioural change and air quality improvement. For that reason we’re working to help Newham breathe easier through proposals to introduce new emissions-based charging for parking permits.”
Last year, the Council declared a climate emergency and published a 25-point action plan to address the challenges of poor air quality in the borough, including measures to reduce the amount of pollution created by vehicles.
On 14 July Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Newham’s Cabinet will be considering important reports reflecting the Council’s continued commitment to achieving a carbon neutral position in the Council by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050. The papers include the Council’s Climate Emergency Annual Report; a response to the Climate Change Citizen Assembly held earlier this year; and the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Councillor Asser added: “We’ve heard the evidence about our poor air quality, we’ve listened to those who want us to take action on the climate emergency in our borough and we’ve reviewed the fairest measures we can introduce to effect change.
“Newham has the poorest air quality in the country and some of the highest asthma rates amongst the under 18s, and we have been hardest hit by Covid-19. We have a duty to respond to that, to improve conditions to protect our residents in the future. We have to tackle air quality to improve health conditions and give the children of the borough a better chance in life.”
You can find out more about the formal statutory consultation at www.newham.gov.uk/council/statutory-parking-consultation. The consultation period lasts for 21 days from 8 July.