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Islington Council discusses ways to tackle hazardous levels of air pollution

PUBLISHED: 10:55 25 September 2012

Idling drivers could face increased fines in Islington

Idling drivers could face increased fines in Islington

Archant

Increased fines for idling bus and taxi drivers are among council proposals to cut back on air pollution in the borough.

The plans were discussed at an Islington Council meeting last week as shocking results of an air pollution study emerged.

The Better Archway Forum (BAF) installed tubes measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for four weeks this summer which showed that all locations on main roads exceeded EU maximum limits. Results included pollution levels at 75 per cent and 50 per cent above the safe levels in Junction Road and Lower Highgate Hill, respectively.

BAF chairman Kate Calvert said the only location which didn’t exceed the limits was at the end of Windermere Road, a cul-de-sac, which proved that traffic was the source of the pollution. She continued: “It is clear that the layout of the central roads in Archway – which require stop-start driving – must be contributing significantly to these results.”

Health statistics from the NHS North Central London show that respiratory disease is the third largest cause of death in the borough, which can potentially be caused by pollution.

The council’s regeneration and employment review committee heard a summary of findings from a report on ways to cut pollution last Tuesday. Proposals discussed included pushing up fines from £20 to £100 for idling drivers, as well as targeting of “school gate mums” sitting in their cars when dropping off and collecting their children.

The council also plans to undertake an engagement project with 250 businesses in the borough to help them reduce their impact on air pollution levels.

The inquiry was set up after pressure from green campaigners following an experiment last year similar to that carried out by the BAF, which showed worrying levels of NO2 in the air between Highbury and Finsbury Park.

Cllr Paul Smith, the council’s executive member for environment, said: “Many residents are badly affected by poor air quality, so we do what we can – whether it’s extending the ‘air text’ service, monitoring building sites, or engaging more effectively with business and TfL to help them reduce emissions. We are committed to making a safer and cleaner environment for residents.”

The committee will review evidence and then report back its findings which will be used to form a new air quality action plan for the borough.

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