Wandsworth Publishes its Air Quality Action Plan

Measures are based on recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly

The council intends to target tougher WHO limits on pollution levels
The council intends to target tougher WHO limits on pollution levels

September 20, 2023

An awareness campaign, a core cycle network across the borough, an annual car free Sunday and encouragement for businesses to use cargo bikes are just some of the measures being proposed in Wandsworth Council’s new Air Quality Action Plan.

The council says that the plan is based on the recommendations of the Wandsworth Citizens’ Assembly on Air Quality. The assembly was set up as part of the council’s commitment to enable local people to set the tone and direction around responses to crucial borough-wide issues.

It is a group of 50 randomly-chosen local people representing who met earlier this year to discuss issues around air quality, hear from community groups and air quality experts and come up with a set of recommendations about what action could be taken in the borough to improve air quality and reduce associated health impacts.

Assembly members presented their final report in June and now the council has used their recommendations as the basis of the new plan.

Air pollution in Wandsworth has been falling but the plan sets new targets based on World Health Organisation definitions of dangerous levels of air pollution - which are more challenging than the UK targets currently used.

Specific actions include rolling out an awareness campaign, creating a core cycle network across the borough, and supporting businesses with cargo bike deliveries.

The plan proposes immediate action on active travel, walking and cycling with the provision of free cycle training to 1600-2000 adults and children every year. The intention is to train a tenth of the population in cycling safely.

Details are to be drawn up of the new core cycle network and improvements to footpaths across the borough and an annual car free Sunday is to be held.

The aim is to ensure that by 2030, 60% of residents live within 400m of the strategic cycle network. The council says it will provide and improve quiet routes for walking and cycling by improving local connections, signage, traffic calming, and maintenance of roads and footpaths.

Not only are incentives to be given to businesses to make deliveries by cargo bike but the council hopes to make cargo e-bikes a routine option for cyclists who need to move larger loads.

Also by 2030 it intends to install 1,390 spaces across 232 bike hangars with 20% on council estates.

The Wandsworth gyratory is to be removed.

Delivery of the plan will be supported by a group of Air Quality Ambassadors. They will help raise awareness of the dangers of poor air quality and what people can do to reduce their risk. They will also monitor progress and feed back to the rest of the borough.

Judi Gasser, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said, “Climate change and poor air quality affect us all, and we all need to be involved in finding solutions. The Citizens’ Assembly has ensured the people of Wandsworth have a direct say in what happens in their borough, and is part of a determination on the part of this administration to truly listen to local people and give them the power to participate in decision making.

“The Assembly told us that we need to be leaders and take the whole borough with us on this journey. We listened and have set more ambitious targets, come up with a wide range of actions and will continue to work in an open, democratic way with the people who live and work in Wandsworth.”

You can read more details of the plan here.

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