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Revealed: Havering among London boroughs with lowest air pollution mortality rates

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 February 2020

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering’s cabinet member for public protection and safety with council officers during two days of anti-idling action. Picture: Havering Council

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Havering’s cabinet member for public protection and safety with council officers during two days of anti-idling action. Picture: Havering Council

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Havering is one of the London boroughs with the lowest air pollution mortality rates, new data reveals.

Public Health England figures show an estimated 6.2pc of deaths of people aged 30 or over in Havering in 2018 were caused by air pollution.

This is below London's average of 6.6pc and only two other boroughs - Harrow and Bromley - had lower mortality rates.

The data measures deaths associated with long-term exposure to tiny particles known as PM2.5, which have a diameter about 3pc of a human hair.

Vehicle emissions are a major source of the harmful particulate matter, which is also produced by industrial processes and the burning of fuels for heating.

The news comes as Havering Council took part in two anti-idling action days calling for drivers to turn off their engines while stationary.

Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for public protection and safety, joined officers from the council's public protection teams along with community volunteers and parents from Hilldene Primary School in Grange Road, Harold Hill and St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Upminster.

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"These days of action are to raise awareness of the negative effect caused by people leaving their engines running while stationary in their cars," said Cllr Persaud.

"Those of us who drive have all done this at one time or the other and it is just about remembering that if you are stopping for a minute or more, don't idle, turn your engine off."

The council officers and volunteers spoke to more than 60 drivers outside the schools, 16 of whom had been idling and switched off their engines when asked.

Cllr Persaud added: "As a council, we are currently looking at ways in which we can look to replace some of our current transport with a more environmentally-friendly fleet as part our Air Quality Action 
Plan, so we can play our part as well."

Havering's Air Quality Action Plan 2018-2023 includes a focus on opportunities to improve the quality of air in hotspots identified in the borough and the planting of shrubbery and trees that contain particles to help reduce pollution in busy traffic areas.

Lydie from Havering's XR group said they have been in touch with the council and the Idling Action group regarding air pollution.

She said: "Idling is an offence and we are planning to work with schools to raise awareness.

"While the levels may be lower for London boroughs we are continually shocked at the amount of Havering residents who idle outside schools and supermarkets or waiting to pick up people outside Tube stations.

"Children especially are so low down at the level of the cars and research is very clear that children breathe more air per kilogram of body weight than adults."

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