Community Champion Steph updates us on Sustainable Merton’s work around air quality in Merton and her recent meeting with the London wide Air Quality Action Network…
“The London Sustainability Exchange (LSx) and Friends of the Earth (FOE) invited local organisations to a networking session on 19th September 2017, in order to share knowledge about each other’s attempts at increasing air quality in their local areas.
Speakers included Samantha Heath, CEO of LSx and Olllie Hayes of FOE. This was the second event run by LSx that I have attended, and I was encouraged by how many representatives participated. There was a lot for me to learn but it was inspiring to hear the great work that some people have achieved so far.
In an attempt to pull these forces together, Friend’s of the Earth have been campaigning nation-wide for action groups to record air quality levels. So far over 4000 people have participated. The results of this survey are yet to be published, but it was very encouraging to hear.
Tom Walsh and I have recently collected air quality samples from Colliers Wood High Street and the junction of Haydons Road/Plough Lane, using a sample kit kindly provided by LSx, so it is reassuring to know that these results will not stand alone in the fight against air pollution.
Photo: Steph Maton
Leonie Cooper, Chair of the Environment Committee also attended to answer questions, and to encourage us all to participate in proving feedback on the draft London Environment Strategy produced by the Mayor of London. The public can still do this up until 17th November. An executive summary of the strategy can be found here. This is the first strategy to bring together approaches to London’s environment so is an important step in the right direction and a great opportunity for us all to have a say.
Interestingly, the speakers also armed us with information on other London campaigns which are addressing air pollution, including the London Toxicity Charge which comes into force on 23rd October, as well as the installation of 1500 electrical vehicle charging stations across London by 2020. If you would like to have your say in support of the fight against air pollution, how about supporting the #SayNo2DirtyAir campaign, or writing to your MP? LSx and FOE have plenty of resources and templates that you can use.
After listening to the speakers, we split into groups to discuss how we could support each other with following topics:
- Ending diesel by 2025
- Schools and vulnerable citizens
- Planning applications
- The Environment Strategy
There were lots of resources shared, and this was an opportunity to network with like-minded people. It was encouraging to see that the work that Sustainable Merton does for our local area is joined in force by many other similar groups across wider London, who all have the same intention to promote a much more sustainable way of living for our future generations to benefit from.”
Steph Maton, Community Champion
Photo: Steph Maton