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Green group airs concern over Havering’s car ownership

PUBLISHED: 16:30 17 July 2015

Havering has the second highest number of cars per household in London

Havering has the second highest number of cars per household in London

Archant

Havering has the second highest number of vehicles per household of all London boroughs – raising concerns about levels of air pollution.

Figures from the Department for Transport show Havering, the capital’s most easterly borough, had 120,051 vehicles – an average of 1.2 per household.

This is second only to London’s most westerly borough, Hillingdon, where there are 1.4 vehicles per household.

Rosina Purnell, a spokeswoman for Havering Friends of the Earth, said: “The number of cars owned by Havering residents is a very worrying figure because of the dangers of air pollution.

“Polluting, toxic gases are 60 per cent above EU legal limits in some parts of our borough.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that elevated levels of air pollution or long term exposure can cause problems with the respiratory and inflammatory systems.

Mrs Purnell said: “Pollution from road traffic diesel fumes is responsible for 70pc of poor air quality and car exhausts make air pollution much worse.”

She added that there is a growing level of concern about the effect of the vehicle culture on the health of children.

Cars left idling outside schools during rush hour can lead to increased and concentrated poor air quality around children.

“If we care about our children’s health we should be driving less and if buying a new car think about purchasing one which has low emissions.”

The council insists it is taking action to ensure car travel across the borough is becoming cleaner.

Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for environment for Havering Council, said: “Our Cleaner Havering campaign is making a real difference to the borough across the board.

“The powers we’ve adopted on moving traffic contraventions will make the roads safer, improve flow and reduce noxious traffic fumes,” he added.

“Fumes will be further cut thanks to our investment in road improvements, which will allow car engines to run more efficiently.

“We’ve also introduced additional residents’ parking permits for second and third cars, to discourage multiple car ownership.”

A London-wide clean air conference was held last week and Havering was condemned for turning down a planning application for a solar farm.

Cllr Benham said: “We are exploring solar, wind and other sustainable energy projects as well as encouraging residents to leave their cars at home and cycle to school and to work.”


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