South London performing poorly on air pollution before lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic may be a turning point in the fight against toxic air as research shows targets to curb pollution were not being met and residents want cleaner air after lockdown.

A scorecard for each London borough has been developed to show how well they performed against their own individual environmental targets and those laid out by the mayor in the year before lockdown.

The Healthy Streets Scorecard, created by a coalition of environmental campaigners in the capital, takes a variety of factors into account such as access to public transport, car ownership and traffic in neighbourhoods to create a score which saw boroughs in South London underperform compared to others.

Before the lockdown, Lewisham was the worst performing overall inner South London borough because of its low cycle and pedestrian lane provision, higher than average traffic and no traffic-free school streets.

The top four performing inner London boroughs were all north of the river -Camden, Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets, as they have successfully introduced 20mph speed limits, controlled parking zones, low traffic neighbourhoods, cycle tracks and traffic-free streets around schools.

Southwark and Lambeth, which came fifth and eighth on the scorecard respectively, saw a 22 per cent decrease in air pollution during the lockdown and residents have said they do not want to see a return to pre-lockdown pollution levels.

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