Poor air quality is one of the most important public health issues facing London. Over 9500 people die prematurely in the capital as a result of air pollution. Air pollution disproportionately affects the vulnerable, the old and the young, but it also contributes to long term health problems such as heart disease.
A survey carried out in September 2016 of our members highlighted that 79% would like Better Bankside to prioritise improving air quality ‘a great deal’. This was the second most important priority after ‘Investing in public spaces and urban greenery’ and just above ‘Improving streets for walking and cycling’.
There are currently no air quality monitors in the Bankside area. However, detailed monitoring carried out by Kings College London show that levels of the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM), on major roads and junctions fail the limits set by the EU and WHO. With rising congestion in the area, it is likely that levels may now be even worse.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a number of steps to tackle air pollution including an Emissions Surcharge and an Ultra-Low Emission Zone for Inner London. These will help reduce levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in Bankside, but they will have a limited impact on Particulate Matter. This is a problem as research has found that there are no safe levels for particulates. Build-up of particulates also causes grime on windows, buildings and clothes.
Greening Bankside's Deliveries
One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of freight and servicing on our air is to reduce the total number of trips. Better Bankside is working to help larger buildings carry out Delivery and Service Plan reviews. Get in touch if you would like to talk about help with your building's delivery and servicing.
For those trips that continue, we are working to make sure they are as green as possible. With Better Bankside members Gnewt Cargo, we run a local business to business delivery service by bicycle or electrically assisted cargo bike. You can order from local suppliers who use this service to be sure you are receiving your goods in a green way. Services currently available are office catering from GAIL's Bakery, and wine orders from Lant Street Wines.
Alternatively, if you are looking for services from further afield, why not use this 'Find a Supplier' tool to find a supplier with green credentials and delivery service that will help reduce air pollution across central London: Find a Green Supplier
Reducing Personal Deliveries
In Better Bankside's latest employee survey, 40% of employees claim to have a package delivered to their place of work at least once a month. This is likely to only increase. Some businesses have reported as much as 75% of the parcels they receive consisting of personal deliveries.
Better Bankside is working to help reduce this number by promoting the alternatives that are available. These include click-and-collect, and getting parcels delivered to hubs such as Parcelly or Doddle locations, particularly ones nearer to people's homes. In particular, Better Bankside has negotiated deals with Parcelly to make this option more attractive to individuals and to corporatins who may wish to offer the services to employees as a perk. See here for more information.
Live Air Quality Map
Ever wondered what difference it makes to walk or cycle along a quieter, less trafficked route?
Our new air quality map located on our homepage takes real time data from air quality monitoring stations across London. It then uses an easy to understand colour coding to overlay that data on a map of the area.
The good news is that by choosing even a slightly different route, you can reduce your exposure to air pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxide and Particulate Matter.
The tool also gives a daily air quality forecast for the whole of central London.
The air quality tool is part of a series of initiatives under Clean Air Better Business, supported by the Mayor's Air Quality Fund. It has been developed by experts at Kings College London
For more information on how your business can get involved contact Sophie Tyler