Camden strengthens air quality commitments ahead of publishing new Clean Air Action Plan

In 2018 Camden Council became the first local authority to adopt the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline limits for air pollution.

The WHO has subsequently revised its guideline limits to be more stringent, calling for policy makers and regulatory authorities to adopt these in recognition of the impact of air pollution upon human health, both at an individual level and across society as a whole.

The council remains firmly committed to realising the Camden 2025 vision for a borough in which no person experiences poor health as a result of the air they breathe, and it will now align its air quality targets with the new WHO limits. In doing so, Camden becomes the first authority to commit to meeting the new WHO guidelines.

The revised WHO guideline limits are significantly more ambitious than the current UK legal limits for air pollution and meeting these levels will require collective action not only from the Council but from the communities, businesses and other organisations active in Camden, all with a shared vision for a healthier, more sustainable borough.

A new Camden Clean Air Action Plan will be published later this year which will set out the next four years of headline actions and key outcomes towards the WHO targets. The Council will develop the Action Plan collaboratively with communities, businesses, schools and universities, healthcare, and other stakeholders, before publicly consulting on a draft plan in summer and launching the final plan in the autumn.

As well as setting out a pathway to achieving the WHO guideline limits, the Clean Air Action Plan will address the need to tackle the disproportionate impact of air pollution on certain communities and groups. Additionally, the Action Plan will go beyond the legal requirements for council air quality policy and will set out measures to improve indoor air quality and reduce workplace exposure to air pollution in Camden.

Recent air quality projects in the borough include the installation of electric power supplies along the Regent’s Canal as part of the Camden Electric Moorings project, ongoing work to provide clean power for ice cream traders, and an air quality and health awareness campaign as part of the Somers Town Future Neighbourhoods programme.