Air tests reveal pollution often above ‘safe’ limits in Highbury

The worrying level of air pollution uncovered in Highbury during an experiment will be discussed at a public meeting.

The Islington Green Party and charity Mapping for Change are holding the discussion on Monday, November 28 at 7pm in Highbury Grove School.

Green Party members and charity workers placed air diffusion tubes, which measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air, between Highbury and Finsbury Park for three weeks.

NO2, an irritant gas created in vehicle combustion, can cause difficulty breathing.

The results show nearly all the tubes fixed on lamposts at head height recorded near or above the safe limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter (�g/m�). Many were double the safe limit.

One tube, which was situated at child height, recorded 85 �g/m�.

Caroline Russell, Islington Green Party spokeswoman, said: “Air pollution is a public health emergency.

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“We have to take urgent action to tackle this invisible killer and deal with the source of the pollution.

“The council has to show some leadership.”

Defra announced earlier this month it has given a �17,900 cash grant to Islington Council for a project which allows residents with breathing problems to get information through text messages about dangerous gas in the air.

Caroline Allen, Green Party London Assembly candidate, said: “This is vital for those with asthma and cardio disease where poor lung function makes it critical to avoid outdoor exercise when air pollution is present.

“But it will not reduce air pollution. We need a radical shift in transport culture and investment in cleaner vehicles.”

Cllr Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “Whether it is challenging the Mayor to show us his Olympics transport plan, extending the air text service, hosting November’s London Air Summit or commissioning new research with experts at Kings College, we are doing more than ever on air pollution.

“Change won’t happen as quickly as we’d like but we are committed to making a safer environment for Islington residents.”