New research shows that air pollution causes an increased risk of strokes. We already knew about the increased chances of heart attacks. Putney High Street, Falcon Lane by Clapham Junction and Tooting Broadway are all pollution hotspots. And yet little is being done to address them, in spite of the issue being consistently raised by local civic groups.
The new research highlights the causal links that even short exposure to high levels of air pollution increases the risk of strokes. Earlier research showed a similar risk of heart attacks. These are two of the main causes of death in London. Even before this new research air pollution has been estimated to cause 4,000 early deaths a year across London. Reducing pollution, especially from motor traffic, should be one of London's top public health issues.
"Experts agree that the best way of reducing the threat from air pollution is to reduce the use of motor vehicles, and increase use of walking and cycling for short trips, and public transport for longer ones, We need to make our streets safer for people who aren't using cars." says Philip Ling Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Tooting. "And yet neither the local Conservatives nor Labour have developed any clear strategy for making such changes. Wandsworth Council campaigns vocally on the expansion of Heathrow airport - and rightly so - but excessive motor traffic is a bigger deal for Tooting residents.The Council should be a loud voice for real change."
Luke Taylor, Liberal Democrat Candidate in Battersea says, "The council must act to firstly understand, and then propose measures to fight the terrible air quality across Wandsworth, and on Falcon Road in Battersea. As MP I would force the Council to install their own pollution monitors so they can find out the real sources and hot spots where air quality is the worst, and then lead plans to work with the GLA, TfL and other boroughs to implement real changes that will benefit our residents. The current Tory MP has done nothing to highlight this issue, and she has been of no use to Battersea residents. I will force the council to act."
Andy Hallett, Lib Dem candidate in Putney, said "Putney High Street is one of the most polluted in London week-in and week-out. Local residents have to go there and it is hurting their health. Right now Wandsworth Council is happy to take on big and sexy debates on Heathrow. That shows it isn't afraid of strategic issues affecting residents and involving other agencies: but it needs to show leadership on bigger, harder issues too. We need them right now to be looking at the grim reality of dirty old lorries and clogged roads. Radical solutions like banning cars at weekends should be considered - nothing should be off the table."
Local Liberal Democrats are calling on the council to be pro-active on road safety and not wait for petitions or people to be hurt before improvements to our streets are made. Cleaner air needs safer streets.
Support our safer streets petition here