Kingston Liberal Democrats are alarmed by the ever increasing evidence linking air pollution to poor health – from lung diseases like asthma and other respiratory problems to heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
With a number of roads in Kingston judged to have dangerously high levels of air pollutants like NO2 and PM2.5, Kingston Liberal Democrats have called on all parties to take this more seriously and for the next Council Administration after the May elections this year to recognise this as a priority.
Kingston Council needs to take action across our Borough, working with local residents and businesses, as well as working with the Greater London Authority and National Government.
Below is our draft Action Plan Liberal Democrats propose to implement if we have a majority after the local elections in May. We recognise that no one person or party have all the answers to this difficult issue so we are using the election period both to consult on it and gather ideas from the Borough’s residents and businesses.
Please use the comments box below to let us know your ideas about how you would improve the air quality on Kingston's streets
Kingston Lib Dems Action Plan
1. Develop a long term strategy, to introduce new vehicle refuelling infrastructure, to enable residents and businesses to refuel their future ultra low emission vehicles, including:-
- The installation of at least 100 new electric vehicle charging points before 2022
- Requiring at least one in five parking places at all new developments to have an electric vehicle charging point
- A partnership with Kingston University to pilot new refuelling technologies
2. Urgent action to minimise today’s emissions from buses and lorries, especially in the most polluted areas, with priority actions including:-
- A “clean bus only zone” in Eden Street, to force bus companies to bring in cleaner, green buses to Kingston – with an immediate request to London’s Mayor to assist
- Developing a local freight consolidation centre, to reduce the number of lorry deliveries into Kingston, as is being implemented in Camden, and to work in partnership with neighbouring Boroughs to facilitate this
- Produce a “Cleaner Air, Better Business” plan in partnership with Kingston’s business, working with the Chamber, Kingston First, Surbiton Business Community, New Malden Traders and other interested parties.
3. Urgent action to minimise air pollution around schools, including:-
- Offering support to all the Borough’s schools, prioritising the most exposed, with measures such as “green screens”, “green walls” and building filters, if appropriate
- Detailed analysis of pollution levels across the school day, week and year, to enable schools to inform their own activities and timetable to minimise remaining risks
- “Anti-idling campaigns” across the borough, but especially to target roads near schools and others with highest pedestrian usage, to help drivers save money and reduce their pollution
4. Major “re-greening Kingston” campaign, to both enhance and protect the Royal Borough’s remaining green spaces, including:-
- Plant at least 1000 new trees by 2022, designing the programme as much as possible to assist with reducing Kingston’s air pollution risk
- Protecting Kingston’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land
- Working with environmental charities to enhance Kingston’s existing nature reserves, with a focus on our “wildlife corridors”
5. Increase awareness of and enforce the Clean Air Act, and Kingston’s “smoke control zone”
- A public information exercise, seeking the support of London’s Mayor to prioritise
- Pilot new detection techniques, working with Kingston University and seeking support from both the GLA and DEFRA
Kingston Liberal Democrats will be adding to these ideas between now and election in May.
Many residents in RBK have experience, knowledge and ideas about improving air quality and we believe in listening to residents' views to help improve the policies of the Council. Unlike the current Conservative administration that demonstrates a 'we know best' approach, we want to work together and that’s why we have launched this informal consultation now – to enable Kingston people to influence the policy of the next Council.
We believe there is much to celebrate in Kingston, but working together we believe we can improve our Borough, and we want to help residents to get involved.
So we are already working on a range of supporting ideas, linked to:-
- Planning policy
- Energy policy
- Parking policy
- Cycling and wider transport policy
- Highways policy
- Procurement policy
We look forward to hearing your views and suggestions.