London’s environment and public health directors call for investment of 2.5% of UK’s GDP into clean air

  • By AnaBaric

London’s Environment and Public Health Directors have published a shared position statement on how to clean up London’s air, which includes calling for 2.5% of the UK’s GDP to be spent on climate change and air quality.

Their joint position statement on air quality shows that the London Environment Directors Network (LEDNet) and Association of Directors of Public Health in London (ADPH London) have shared ambitions regarding the most effective interventions for responding to London’s clean air crisis.

Published to coincide with London Car Free Day on Sunday 22nd September, the joint statement points to evidence that restricting car use is one of the most effective measures authorities can take to reduce air pollution and improve air quality public health outcomes locally. The majority of London boroughs are taking part in Car Free Day.

As air pollution and climate change have had a disproportionately large impact on more vulnerable groups, LEDNet and ADPH London’s joint statement includes a focus on championing measures that will have an impact on low-income communities, children, older people and those already suffering from respiratory ailments.

It also highlights the important role central government leadership and funding can play by calling for 2.5% of the UK’s GDP to be spent on climate change and air quality, based on a recommendation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr Tamara Djuretic, Air Quality Lead, Association of Directors of Public Health in London, said:

“We’re excited by our collaboration and the opportunities it opens up, and we look forward to turning the words of our statement into better, healthier lives for our residents.

“We need a strong, shared narrative and campaign on air quality and public health impacts across London that will change the public’s perception around their own contribution to cleaning our air – including the overall benefits of physical activity to most people.”

Stephen Evans, Air Quality lead, London Environment Directors Network, said:

“Across the country, there are some excellent examples of work being led by local councils to invest in sustainable transport, renewable energy and redesigning streets to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“But councils could do more if they had the right powers and funding.  At the heart of our position is a call for the Government to take the lead globally by allocating at least 2.5% of UK annual GDP to properly fund the response to climate change and improve the air we breathe, with a significant increase in resources available to councils to tackle the issue.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The London Environment Directors' Network (LEDNet) is the membership association for London’s Environment Directors. LEDNet delivers more effective and efficient environmental services, including an increased adoption of circular economy approaches, reduced residual waste and increased recycling, cleaner air, a more resilient energy system and a thriving natural environment.
  2. ADPH London represents Directors of Public Health in London’s 32 local authorities and the City of London. ADPH London works closely with other organisations and stakeholder bodies in London which have an impact on, or are affected by, the London local government public health system.
  3. London Car Free Day is a free event which encourages Londoners to cycle, walk, use public transport and have street parties on 22 September.
  4. LEDNet and ADPH London’s joint position on air quality makes the following recommendations:
  • Advocating for at least 2.5% of UK annual GDP to be spent on tackling air quality and climate change in the UK;
  • Protecting children from exposure to poor air quality by:
    • Implementing the Healthy Streets Approach
    • Taking action to mitigate pollution hotspots, particularly around schools; and
    • Protecting vulnerable populations by providing information and alerts and advice.
  • Supporting a shared narrative and campaign on air quality and public health impacts across London that will change the public’s perception around their own contribution to cleaning our air;
  • Restricting driving across the city, introducing support schemes such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), scrappage schemes and local schemes;
  • Using public sector procurement and social value action to reduce boroughs own contribution to air pollution; and
  • Speaking with one voice as boroughs to secure the resources and powers needed to reduce air pollution and protect the health of our residents.