Wednesday 17 May 2017

Toxic air shock for Brent residents

David Wardle and Pam Laurance (Brent Friends of the Earth) at Sustainability Day at Colindale Public Health England
 On 5th May 2017 the government released its plan for improving air quality and is a call for action from Brent Council and the Mayor of London.  
The plan underlines the importance of the work being carried out by Brent FOE which has contributed to the evidence base indicating the illegal and dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air in Brent. 
Brent FOE took measurements of the levels of nitrogen dioxide in February this year at 9* locations in Brent, using Friends of the Earth Air Quality kits (available at  The locations included playgrounds, schools, high streets, tube stations, and areas that have a significant footfall.   
Nitrogen dioxide is one of many air pollutants.  It is a smelly gas which contributes to smog and respiratory problems.  Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, and it can reduce immunity to lung infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis.
Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have a significant impact on people with asthma, due to the fact that it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Children with asthma and older people with heart disease are most at risk.
The EU legal limit for nitrogen dioxide concentrations is 40µg/m3.  The readings at the 9* locations ranged from 64.81µg/m3 to 94.16µg/m3.  The evidence indicates that all locations had nitrogen dioxide concentrations that were above the EU legal limit, and some were more than double that limit.
FOE is demanding the introduction of a Clean Air Act and a generous scrappage system for diesel vehicles that will significantly reduce emissions.  Contact your local General Election candidates (Contact details HERE) and the Mayor of London to ask them for their views.  If you would like to join Brent FOE or find out more about our campaign, please contact

*9 locations: Fryent Medical Centre, NW9 9PE; Kingsbury tube station NW9 8XG; 5 Berkeley Rd NW9 9DJ;Roe Green Park, Children’s playground NW9 9DT; 14 Craven Park Road, Housewife Cash+ Carry NW10 4AB; Harlesden Library NW10 8SE; Opposite Greenhill Park Medical Centre NW10 9AR; Harlesden Primary School, Acton Lane NW10 8UT; Shakespeare Avenue Open Space (Nr. A404) NW10 8NG


Anonymous said...

I am posting this comment anonymously, as it includes personal information about a member of my family.

Brent's toxic air is not a shock for our family. We moved to Brent from outside of London in the 1980's. Our new home was close to some of the locations where FoE took measurements.

Our eldest daughter was just about to start school. She had previously enjoyed good health, but within months was starting to suffer serious asthma attacks. We lost count of the number of times she ended up in the Children's ward at Northwick Park, but this went on for a number of years until we were able to obtain a portable "Ventolin" nebuliser.

Even this was not enough for the worst attacks, and there was a time, in her early teens, when we thought we had lost her, when I was giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while we waited for an ambulance in the middle of the night.

The constant use of steroid drugs during her childhood has left her shorter as an adult than her parents or her younger sibling. She is still, in her thirties, having to take daily medication to control her asthma, although she rarely now gets attacks as serious as those when she was a child.

Does the next government need to introduce a robust Clean Air Act without delay? You will understand why my answer is YES - it should have been done years ago!

Meg Howarth said...

Location 'Housewife Cash+Carry'...?! Time for an update to relocate to the 21st century.