One of the downsides of living in a thriving area like Archway is that the air quality here is some of the worst in London (which, unsurprisingly, has some of the worst in the UK). Some of the causes are obvious, busy roads used by lorries, cars, buses and taxis, but some are surprising - residential boilers are a major contributor to the problem. Two indicators of poor quality air - nitrous oxide and particulate emissions - are regularly monitored and found to be in excess of acceptable limits, particularly along our busiest routes, Archway Road, Junction Road and Holloway Road.
Before you dismiss this is merely a nuisance, extra dirt to clean away or unpleasant smells, think about this: the Royal College of Physicians calculates that poor air quality causes 10,000 early deaths a year in London. Poor air exacerbates cardio vascular and cardio pulmonary diseases and it is especially bad for children. If all this wasn't depressing enough, the cost of poor air health impacts across the UK are calculated at £15 - £20 billion. (£20 billion is over 15% of the current NHS budget.)
What can we do? Money from the Mayor's Air Quality Fund and from Islington Council has been set aside to create a clean air project, the Archway ZEN (Zero Emissions Network). This will follow on from a successful pilot project in Shoreditch. The pilot offered firms energy efficiency audits backed by practical help such as grants to upgrade boilers, help to provide showers for staff after cycling to work and improved cycle parking. The project also looked at providing alternatives such as cargo bikes for deliveries, electric vehicles and shared car ownership schemes.
Archway is a different kind of area, so our scheme won't simply replicate the Shoreditch pilot. The first stage of the Archway ZEN is underway, raising awareness of the problem and getting input from local businesses and organisations. A representative of the ZEN has already been visiting to get their input and suggest a variety of solutions.
The aim is to make Archway a healthier place to live and work.
If your business or school/community centre/health centre would welcome a chance to get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org