London Sustainability Exchange
The Cleaner Air 4 Communities programme - led by London Sustainability Exchange, in partnership with Healthy Air Campaign, aimed to create a critical mass of communities that are actively engaged in measuring and are making a difference by:
Gathering data through citizen science activities to map local air quality.
Identifying key areas for action to directly influence local, regional and national policy.
Supporting each other through inspirational shared learning events.
Providing training and support to help them demand better air quality and enable them to formulate change.
The project involved a number of community groups - including Sustainable Merton, and Merton is one of 8 borough councils that has engaged in discussions around air quality.
Q & A
with Tom Walsh
Community Ambassador, Sustainable Merton
Which areas were covered by this project?
As part of this project, we have covered 30 sites across Merton.
How many Air Quality training sessions were delivered?
What were they about? How many members attended those sessions?
We delivered three hands on sessions to local residents (adults) and four to local primary schools (children in years 5 and 6). The adult sessions reached 12 people and the school sessions reached 70 children and 6 adults.
What are your key findings of this project?
There were many important findings from this work.
We discovered just how bad air quality is in many parts of the borough of Merton.
We found that little is known about air quality by the Merton public.
We found it difficult to pass on our findings to the wider public except via our busy website and those of sister groups (we will be seeking to improve our communications and publicity in the coming year).
We found that local councillors and officers are not all well informed on the seriousness of this issue.
We discovered that major planning applications do not place AQ as a key area of consideration.
Finally, we found no clear plan from the LA as to how we deal with this issue.
What were your key achievements in terms of contacting policy makers or reaching out to your community?
We succeeded in getting a potentially harmful planning application postponed so that its impact on local AQ could be evaluated.
We supported the development of a local action group - Clean Air Merton (CAM).
We supported CAM in holding a public meeting to discuss air quality, to which 80 people came.
We encouraged our wider supporter base to take part in both the Mayor's Air Quality consultation and that of Merton Council.
Busting Air Pollution
by Steph, Air Quality Champion
"Air quality is both a workplace issue and a public health one. The aim of the event was to equip community representatives, especially trade union members, with the knowledge and tools to enable them to collect evidence on poor air quality, which can then be used to get employers to put air quality on the agenda.