Councillor Harrison talks about air quality in Camden

News – Thursday, February 1st, 2018
open landscape of urban camden


One of the top issues facing Camden right now is to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

Camden, like most of London, currently exceeds legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and World Health Organisation limits for particulate matter – the fine dust and particles generated by combustion engines, tyre and brake wear and construction. Particulate matter, especially the very fine ‘PM2.5’, gets right into the lungs causing great harm, particularly to children and the elderly. Together, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are estimated to cause as many as 9,400 premature deaths in London each year, while affecting the health of many more.

Vehicles cause almost half of all air pollution in Camden, with a further 31% resulting from commercial and domestic boilers. Businesses have a key role to play in cutting these sources of pollution, and I know that many of you are already leading by example to improve local air quality.

Our 2017 Camden Business Sustainability award winner, Colyer Group, deliver their products across London using a 100% electric fleet, while Optimum’s fleet is now fully fitted with stop-start technology, and travel routes are optimised for routine maintenance and reactive call outs. Troup Bywaters + Anders has taken a different approach, putting a sustainable travel policy at the heart of its business and introducing agile working arrangements to reduce the amount of travel for meetings.

To help more businesses and organisations follow this impressive lead, and move Camden towards safe World Health Organisation limits on air quality, we have launched a new Clean Air for Camden campaign, which provides straightforward advice and support for businesses and staff in Camden.  Actions you can take include registering as a cycle to work scheme provider and helping your employees spread the cost of a new commuting bike, improving the energy efficiency of your building to reduce boiler emissions, and working with your suppliers to ensure they play their part too. Find out how we can help at the Camden Climate Change Alliance (CCCA).

As part of this support, the CCCA can help you apply for the Camden Climate Fund. The Fund provides grants of up to £5,000 towards the installation costs of renewable technologies and/or energy efficiency improvements.

On a final note, the World Health Organisation also defines acceptable limit values for various pollutants inside buildings, and there is a strong link between poor internal air and business efficiency. I would urge all businesses and organisations in Camden to check that internal air quality is not affecting your staff and to contact us if you have concerns.

Learn more about our air quality work by downloading our Clean Air Action Plan. For further support and advice, contact the Camden Climate Change Alliance.

We look forward to working with you towards a low emission Camden.


Councillor Adam Harrison

Cabinet Member for Improving Camden’s Environment