The Mayor of London's survey on air quality is a great chance for Londoners to have their say. Here our Policy and Research Coordinator Rachel Lee outlines where Living Streets stands on the points it raises.

Take part in the Mayor London's Air Quality Survey

Busy street in London with walkers and buses

There are plenty of proposed measures coming from the new Mayor's office, and which feature in the survey, that we strongly support. For example:

  • Bringing forward the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and extend it throughout London
  • Introducing an emissions surcharge
  • Pedestrianising Oxford Street
  • Creating more car-free days and temporary street closures for children to play or events.

Other measures not mentioned in the survey include reducing speeds (20mph speed limits) and placing restrictions on loading times.

There are things we would like to see more emphasis on, though.

To start with, we need more solid proposals relating to encouraging modal shift - that is people changing to cleaner more active forms of travel.

It’s not just about penalising dirty vehicles to encourage use of cleaner vehicles. We want more people encouraged to walk and cycle.

Let’s reprioritise road space. Give more space for walking and cycling, and have fewer vehicles on the road

The potential impact of increased walking and cycling is highlighted in a recent Transport for London (TfL) report which states that if Londoners swapped motorised modes for short journeys that could be walked or cycled, this would deliver 60,000 years of health benefits from physical activity each year.

With cleaner air, everyone benefits.

Another aspect which needs greater emphasis is that the effects of air pollution are unequal.

Most obviously person who chooses to drive is exposed to pollution that they help to produce. People who walk or cycle do not contribute to poor air quality but are unfairly exposed to it.

Low income and ethnic minority groups living in urban areas (often without a car) may be worse affected. For example, in June 2011 Campaign for Clean Air in London published government figures showing that there were 1,148 schools within 150 metres of London roads carrying over 10,000 vehicles per day.

With cleaner air, everyone benefits.

Have your say

To take part in the Mayor's air quality survey click below - you will need to set up a free Talk London account.

Take the Mayor's Clean Air Survey