Tackling pollution top of the agenda for new Brent organisation

Anti-pollution residents who attended Brent Clean Air's meeting

Anti-pollution residents who attended Brent Clean Air's meeting - Credit: Archant

A new organisation committed to addressing the dangers of air pollution in Brent has held its first public meeting.

Clean Air for Brent (CAfB), a new voluntary body, joined forces with Brent Council last Thursday to hold “The Air We Breathe: how pollution is affecting us and what we can do about it” at the Brent Civic Centre, in Engineers Way, Wembley Park.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, opened the event, attended by more than 80 residents, saying the council was committed to improving air quality in the borough.

Speakers included Simon Birkett, former banker and now director of Clean Air in London, Elliot Treharne, air quality manager at the Greater London Assembly, Cllr Eleanor Southwood, the council’s lead member for the environment, and Jennifer Barrett, part of the regeneration and environment services team.

According to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), air pollution causes nearly 9,500 premature deaths in London every year.

Topics covered at the two-hour meeting included the high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on Brent’s roads, caused by traffic.

NO2, they said, is a dangerous pollutant, which causes asthma, lung cancer, and cognitive problems for children, as well as restricted lung development.

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Road transport produces 50 per cent of the total emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the UK every year of which 90 pc is created by diesel vehicles, they said.

Cllr Southwood also spoke of the council’s clean air initiatives, such as the ‘no idling’ campaign to urge people to switch off their engines when on the school run.

Janey McAllester, of CAfB, said: “We were delighted that people from all parts of the borough came to hear about how dangerous pollution is to us all.

“Now they have to spread the word, encourage their friends and families to drive less or swap to cleaner vehicles and take action to stop our city from killing us.”

Cllr Southwood said: “I believe that public attitudes are beginning to change.

“For example when I used to speak about a premium on the residents’ parking charge for diesel vehicles the atmosphere was quite hostile.

“Now I am asked whether it is enough.”

For more information go to cleanairforbrent.wordpress.com.

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