Gavin McIntosh introduced the report explaining that Hammersmith and Fulham had a major problem with air pollution. Many parts of the borough, especially town centres and areas around main roads, had Particulate (PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) pollution levels above the legal limits. There were 302 early deaths each year in the borough which were attributable to poor air quality. The main cause of NOx pollution was road transport, with gas boilers being the secondary source. The main source of PM10 pollution was also road transport, with resuspension being the secondary source.
The Council was required to produce an Air Quality Action Plan and this was in the process of being updated. The new version would not only be updated to fit a new London Wide template but would also incorporate the recommendations of the Council’s Air Quality Commission. The plan would be put out for a public consultation on 18 July for around 3 months.
Gavin McIntosh explained that more monitoring was now taking place across the borough. An additional 20 diffusion tubes had been installed which took the total to 35; many of the new tubes were located in sensitive areas such as schools. The Council had also benefitted from money from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund; to be eligible for funding the borough had to retain its clean air borough status which meant that certain standards had to be met. Projects funded through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund included:
• Scrubs Lane Dust Suppressant Trial
• Clean Air Better Business Program
• Low emission logistics
• Idling engine awareness
• London Low emission construction Partnership
• Greening of Talgarth Road
Rosemary Petit, Chair of the Air Quality Commission, noted that the Scrubs Lane Dust Suppressant Trial was using Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) and explained that the Air Quality Commission had not recommended the use of this substance. She asked what the Council’s reason for trialling it was. Gavin McIntosh said that the Council was trialling the use of CMA near to heavy industrial sites where significant amounts of dust were created. Councillor Harcourt said that the results of the trial would be interesting as, whilst he agreed with the Air Quality Commission that CMA should not be used widely, if it could deal with the dust problems created by building sites it might relieve a lot of the pollution in some parts of the borough.
A resident said that they felt the closure of some side roads was causing journeys to be longer and therefore adding to pollution. Another resident said that the deterrent effect of longer journey times would be useful as it would encourage residents to consider alternative modes of transport.
Rosemary Petit asked whether there were plans to increase the number of Air Quality Monitoring Stations, as the borough currently only had one; she suggested that joint work with Imperial College might be possible. Nick Austin confirmed that the Council was trying to get more monitoring stations and said that officers would speak to relevant staff at Imperial College about the possibility of collaboration in this area.
Residents expressed concerns about the location of schools and new developments in areas with very high levels of pollution. Councillors noted that unfortunately there were not many alternative sites in the area where pollution was lower.
Rosemary Petit asked why the Council had chosen not to introduce a diesel surcharge on parking permits. Councillor Harcourt said that discounts were offered to residents who owned electric vehicles or those which met the latest emissions standards, however, the impact on the poorest residents, who might be unable to replace their car, had been considered and a surcharge rejected. The Council was also promoting the use of electric vehicles in other ways such as the launch of the BlueCity electric car club.
Councillor Cassidy noted that the Mayor of London was running an enhanced monitoring project for selected schools; he asked how schools were selected and what the benefits of the scheme would be. Gavin McIntosh explained that schools would be chosen based on pollution levels. Each school would be audited to identify how pollution could be reduced and what schools could do to make their sites greener.