Politicians pledge to clean up Brent’s filthy air

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupa Sheth, MP Dawn Butler, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Sha

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupa Sheth, MP Dawn Butler, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Shah, Fiona Mulaisho and MP Barry Gardiner - Credit: Archant

You wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once.

MP Barry Gardiner signs pledge during Brent's Clean Air Day

MP Barry Gardiner signs pledge during Brent's Clean Air Day - Credit: Archant

That’s no longer just an idiom: according to anti-pollution campaigners, it’s a real problem for Brent’s air quality.

Students at Imperial College who were commissioned to carry out the biggest ever pollution study of Harlesden High Street and Chamberlayne Road counted three number 18 buses in a line earlier this year, when they’re meant to arrive several minutes apart.

And they said it wasn’t a one-off, with buses that were meant to turn up every eight to 10 minutes arriving just every one or two minutes.

Their report reveals that air pollution, which breaches EU limits in Harlesden and Kensal Green, is caused by rat-run traffic and diesel buses.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupa Sheth, MP Dawn Butler, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Sha

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Krupa Sheth, MP Dawn Butler, Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Shah, Fiona Mulaisho and MP Barry Gardiner - Credit: Archant


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Sorting out the timetables is one of the recommendations made in the paper, published this week. It also says shops should trial greener delivery methods while Brent’s buses should be refitted to meet lower emissions targets.

Now senior Brent politicians have vowed to use all their powers to clean up the problem.

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MPs Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler joined Brent councillors to sign a clean-air pledge at the Clean Air Day event on Thursday, organised by campaigning group Clear Air for Brent, Friends of the Earth and the council.

The campaigners are calling for the council and TfL to urgently improve the air being breathed by pupils at John Keble in Harlesden and Ark Franklin in Kensal Rise. Both schools were included in the mayor’s recent Air Quality School Audit as two of the 50 most polluted primary schools in London.

Chair of Clean Air for Brent Fiona Mulaisho said: “Children are the most vulnerable; air pollution causes asthma and problems with lung development.

“It is a silent killer – these costs will have to be born in the very near future.”

In Brent it is estimated 200 premature deaths occur each year that are directly attributable to air pollution.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, said: “We have some of the most polluted roads in Europe running through Brent. This is completely unacceptable.

“We must call for action to be taken by central government and to keep residents informed of ways in which we can all make a difference to our air quality.”

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