Lewisham receives £250,000 to improve air quality

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs invest in project to reduce air pollution in the borough. Pic: TfL

Lewisham is one of nine London boroughs that will be receiving a share of almost £11 million in funding as part of the Government’s new Air Quality Grant.

Each of the 44 selected councils in England will receive a portion of the £10.7 million grant to help them “develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of air pollution on people’s health.”

Lewisham will be given a quarter of a million pounds.

Lewisham Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate, Louise Krupski told Eastlondonlines: “Tackling air pollution is vital for the health of our residents and the future of our planet. We have already taken bold action in Lewisham to improve air quality – planting hundreds of new street trees, restricting traffic around schools and installing more cycle hangars.

“We will be using this funding to expand our air quality monitoring network, providing real-time air quality information to the public.”

The other London boroughs that will be included in the new grant are Brent, Camden, Enfield, Havering, Islington, Redbridge, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster City Council.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said: “This funding will support a range of inspiring and innovative projects across the country – stepping up our monitoring of harmful pollutants, educating the public and boosting the use of green transport.”

Rebecca Pow has said that this will support their commitments to the Environment Act of improving public health and enhancing the natural environment. The Environmental Improvement Plan published at the end of January sets out the government’s ultimate environmental aims as an updated refreshment of the ’25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP)’ established five years ago.


The latest distribution of funding means that around £53 million will have been distributed under the Air Quality Grant scheme since 2010.

Defra contributed just over £248,000 towards improving air quality data for the “improvement of air quality sensor network” educating communities about nitrogen dioxide, and to “develop targeted interventions to reduce air pollution”.

Concerns around air quality in the borough had increased across the community following the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old girl from Lewisham who died in 2013 because of illegal levels of air pollution. It became the first death in the UK to be ruled as being caused by air pollution by the Coroner’s Office.

The Lewisham Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan for 2020 to 2030 suggests that taking action to reduce carbon emissions means cutting the number of vehicles on our streets to making drastic improvements to air quality. NO2 (Nitrous Dioxide) emissions are primarily caused by human activities, including the combustion of fossil fuels, particularly from motor vehicles. According to the London Air Quality Network, road transport is responsible for around 50% of total emissions of nitrogen oxides. Heating systems, such as boilers, are another significant source.

Nitrogen Oxides levels are especially high in areas with busy roads and more traffic congestion, commonly in deprived locations. Half of the people living in areas of Lewisham with the highest concentrations of NO2 and PM10 (Particulate Matter) which is found in dust and smoke, come from deprived areas.

To be able to reduce emissions, Lewisham is making major development proposals with heat network priority to install low-temperature heating systems. They will use zero-emission or secondary heat sources, low-emission combined heat and power (CHP), and ultra-low NOx gas boilers. The new system will be the most effective in meeting improved air quality standards and decarbonising the overall communal network in the foreseeable future.

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