'Toxic air is killing us': Council asks people to cut back on car journeys

Exhaust pipe

The council is asking its residents to walk or cycle to save lives - Credit: PA

Newham Council is calling on the borough's residents to ditch car journeys and walk or cycle instead in a bid to save lives.

The town hall's cabinet member for the environment, transport and sustainable travel Councillor James Asser highlighted the urgency of air pollution crisis in Newham.

He said the council is "committed to emissions-based charging for parking permits due to the poor air quality in the borough".

"Our toxic air is killing our residents," he said. "Each year, 96 people in Newham die prematurely due to the poor quality of the air that they breathe, and we know Covid has had a disproportionate impact on the health of our residents.

"For this reason, we need our residents to take personal responsibility for their contribution to our poor air quality by reducing the number of journeys they take by car, particularly those in high polluting vehicles, and to consider walking or cycling short journeys, as it’s been proven that vehicles emit more pollution during the first few miles of a journey.

James Asser. Picture: LBN

Cllr Asser highlighted the number of deaths caused by air pollution in Newham - Credit: Archant

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"In the borough with the worst pollution in the country and where poor air quality is having a significant impact on the health of the population, particularly in the young and the elderly, doing nothing is no longer an option - we have to take action."

Cllr Asser's plea came as the council announced it was introducing a 40 per cent discount, as well as a suite of payment options, for resident permit holders because of the Covid crisis.

Barking and Dagenham Council has ended its 30 minutes free parking allowance. Picture: Jonathan Brad

Parking charges will be discounted due to the pandemic - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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It is hoped the new scheme will help people spread the cost over the course of the year, giving residents the option of buying three or six-month permits, instead of the 12 month offer now.

The new discount and payment options will be available from February 8.

Cllr Asser added: “We know the financial hardship Covid has had, which is why we implemented the one-off 20 per cent Covid discount to help our residents.

"However, with the additional national lockdown, we heard from many residents expressing their concern about the financial pressure the ongoing pandemic was creating.

"After listening to their concerns, and feedback from councillors, we have taken further measures to help residents."

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