Camden calls on Government to adopt World Health Organization targets for air quality in the delayed Environment Bill

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Taking action to improve air quality in Camden

Given the unprecedented nature of the ongoing pandemic much progress has recently been achieved through the council’s Safer Travel programme.

During the COVID emergency, the council has continued to see a rise in walking and cycling but also in car use as public transport capacity has shrunk due to physical distancing requirements.

This programme is introducing a broad range of improvements across the borough to help residents move around their communities in a safer way.

Councillor Harrison commented:

“Our Safer Travel programme aims to help residents get about while public transport capacity is restricted – and to avert a ‘car-based recovery’ that includes increased pollution and carbon emissions, as well as road danger.

“We know walking and cycling are best for one’s health and for the environment. This was true pre-COVID and is even more pressing now with the reported links between the pandemic, clean air and respiratory health.

“As well as creating extra space on high streets such as Kilburn High Road and Hampstead High Street, we have removed rat-runs, often by just installing a simple bollard. As well as these measures, we have also brought forward pop-up cycle lanes.

“Many schools suffer with parking, congestion, road danger and air quality issues immediately outside their gates, so encouraging walking and cycling to school can also reduce the impact of the early-morning commute.

“To this end a new Healthy Schools Zone, covering five schools off Fitzjohn’s Avenue will shortly be fully operational, joining three new ‘School Streets’ restricting car use for drop-off and pick-up will in Fortune Green, Primrose Hill, and Kentish Town.”

This autumn the council will also be establishing a series of Safe and Healthy Streets, low-traffic neighbourhood schemes across multiple areas in the Borough, including the Arlington Road area and in Kentish Town.

These will help to reduce air pollution in primarily residential areas whilst making streets safer for social distancing and active travel. The air pollution impacts elsewhere will be closely monitored to understand the wider effect of these schemes.

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