Newham Council’s residents are exposed to high levels of toxic pollution caused by vehicles. Newham has the highest rate of deaths from air pollution in England – 96 people are estimated to die prematurely as a result each year.
Newham also has the highest number of children admitted to hospital due to asthma-related conditions. While air pollution doesn’t respect borough boundaries and there are many factors contributing to poor air quality, some of which are beyond the control of the council, it is looking at everything it can do to address this crisis situation.
Drastic action on improving air quality, enhancing our local environment and addressing the climate emergency is central to the council’s approach across a raft of transport, planning and development strategies, covering liveable neighbourhoods, regeneration, planning, urban design, housing delivery and local economic growth plans.
Embracing the principles of sustainable development and the green economy is also a key feature of Newham’s Community Wealth Building agenda, as the council pursues local economic growth strategies to promote inclusion, social development and environmental sustainability. The council will also seek to promote investment in the borough by green technology firms through its leading role in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone.
Additionally, the Mayor has appointed a Commissioner for Air Quality and Climate Change to help coordinate this vital area of work.
The council is presently implementing a range of measures to meet its sustainable transport objectives and address issues of air quality in the borough, including a series of Liveable Neighbourhood pilot schemes, and an Air Quality Action Plan.
To address the borough’s poor air quality, each of the 96 schools in the borough have had diffusion tube monitoring equipment installed to monitor Nitrogen Dioxide levels. Data generated will be used to implement a range of measures, such as Healthy School Streets, to reduce pupils’ exposure to poor air quality and influence their school travel plans.