Air Quality in London Event, March 2017

A joint event on air pollution in London was presented by ADPH London and LEDNet on the 3rd March 2017, London. The event was co-chaired by Houda Al Sharifi, ADPH London, Air Quality Lead and Michele Moloney, London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), Air Quality Lead. The event centred on providing examples of the challenges and barriers to effectively addressing air quality while maximising the health co-benefits and examples of successful projects. The content focused on collaborative working in taking action to address air quality.

Presentations:

  1. Air pollution and health; Making the case for action Robie Kamanyire, Head of Environmental Hazards & Emergencies London Unit, Public health England.
  2. Health co-benefits of creating healthy environments Lucy Saunders, Consultant in Public Health, Transport for London
  3. Air quality in London: Reflections from the London Borough of Waltham Forest David Beach, Head of Licensing and Regulation, Waltham Forest
  4. Tackling Pollution in London: Partnerships with the GLA Elliot Treharne, Air Quality Manager, Greater London Authority
  5. Air Quality and Public Health: Reflections from Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham Steve Shaffelburg, Strategic Public Health Advisor and Muge Dindjer Scrutiny Manager.

Key points from the day:

Hot topic: air quality was once a niche area, it has now gained much political and public attention.

Trust: unlike the past, current air pollution cannot be seen, it is intangible to people. It is an invisible threat. Building trust is therefore key as people will rely on Public Health, Environmental and other teams for information on trends in air quality and outcomes of efforts to mitigate the threats.

Health co-benefits: we must not miss the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on health, this is about how people travel, their lifestyles and how people can be more active and healthy.

Beyond London: air pollution in London is driven by local factors and is also influenced by air quality in Europe and beyond.

On people’s minds: the GLA air quality survey and London Council’s surveys demonstrated that air pollution this is a key concern for the public.

The health impacts: the strength of the evidence is substantial and air pollution has varied and numerous negative health impacts across the life course.

Environmental injustice: the greatest burden falls on the most deprived yet is it the least deprived that produce the most. The majority of the schools most affected by air pollution are in deprived areas.

Healthy streets: we need to make the public realm a place that people want to be in and interact with.

Promoting activity: active people equals healthy and happy people breathing clean air in great places

Collaboration: collaborative working across multiple sectors is key. Tackling air pollution will require multifaceted approaches involving multiple sectors and specialities.

Communication: messages and communication need to be used more effectively. The messages are key, they need to reach people and give them useful information.

Change is not easy: public engagement and supporting them to make the necessary changes and take steps to reduce air pollution by reducing car use and dependency are essential in tackling air pollution and to having meaningful health impacts. It is challenging to establish shifts in culture and change the way people live their lives: it will take time, commitment and requires effective and open communication and engagement.

Partnerships: forming partnerships with and working alongside PHE, the GLA and TfL, academic partners and the community will strengthen actions to address air pollution.