Calling London Mums to support the Mums for Lungs campaign for cleaner healthier air in London

Dear London Mums, I feel very strongly about a new campaign launched by Mums for Lungs, a new local group of parents I know from my son’s former primary school who are campaigning for cleaner, healthier air in London and would like to call everyone to support it. Mums for Lungs is a growing network of parents concerned about the life-long impact of London’s toxic air on our children’s health. The new East Sheen branch of Mums for Lungs has recently contacted me with the main focus of making everyone aware of the London Mayor’s consultation on plans for an expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone. You might have seen the Mayor’s leaflet on this come through your door a while ago. This public consultation ends on 28 February 2018 so there’s a fast-closing window of opportunity to get something positive done. If you want to help, please take action now –  the deadline is 28th February – and complete a short survey herehttp://bit.ly/2mVHpqo

The only way we can all have a say to change the air we all breathe and on the expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), we can respond to the London Mayor’s consultation.  

To give you a bit of background on what this is, the Mayor of London is introducing an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in 2019 that will apply to all older polluting vehicles that fail to meet stricter emissions standards. And he is currently consulting on plans to extend this up to, but not including, the North and South Circulars in 2021.

We think an expanded ULEZ is great news, but we want him to do more

  • 2021 is too late for our children. We want the expanded ULEZ introduced by 2020 – within the current Mayor’s tenure.  
  • The ULEZ must be drawn up to cover ALL of London to ensure all Londoners’ health is protected. The current proposals only cover the areas between the North and South circulars and exclude these arterial roads. So, Londoners in polluted South London hotspots such as Richmond town centre will be left breathing filthy air. And pollution may get worse at the Zone boundaries, as drivers in non-compliant vehicles divert onto already-congested roads, like the South Circular’s Upper Richmond Road West. 
  • A London-wide ULEZ would help to further reduce pollution along the South Circular and beyond, in places where nurseries and schools are blighted by toxic air. Accordingly, the London Assembly has repeatedly asked the Mayor to introduce a London-wide ULEZ (here and here).

Air pollution contributes to nearly 9,500 premature deaths annually in London and is linked to asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, dementia, strokes and an increased risk of having a premature or low-weight baby. 

In my local SW London area, for example, long stretches of the Upper Richmond Road West, which bisects East Sheen, are illegally polluted, as is Richmond town centre. Two schools in Richmond borough (East Sheen Primary School and St Stephen’s Church of England Primary School) are currently taking part in the London Mayor’s ‘Air Quality Audits’ because they are located in areas that have exceeded legal pollution limits.

My recommendation is to complete the survey – suggested responses to make an impact include strongly support all the questions, except questions 2 “oppose sooner”, 5 “support larger” and 6 “oppose sooner” and in part 5 write something like “I want the ULEZ for all of the most polluting vehicles to cover all of London and all measures to be implemented during the Mayor’s current tenure.”

If you feel strongly about this campaign, please encourage friends and family to email and / or respond to the consultation as well – share on Facebook etc! You get the idea, the louder we make our voices heard, the cleaner our air will be in the near future.

If you have any specific questions on the Mums for Lungs’ cleaner air in London campaign, please get in touch with mumsforlungs@gmail.com directly. They are extremely knowledgable and kind London Mums. 

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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