Calls for Ulez to be extended to Barkingside after claims emissions are more than twice legal limit

Barkingside High Street had emission readings higher than advised, a group has claimed. Picture: Ell

Barkingside High Street had emission readings higher than advised, a group has claimed. Picture: Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

A community group is calling for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to be extended to Barkingside, claiming air pollution exceeded the legal limit four times over the bank holiday weekend.

Redbridge Cycling Campaign recorded nitrogen dioxide (NOx) levels outside Fullwell Cross Library, High Street, Barkingside, between Saturday, May 4 and Monday, May 6, and wants the Ulez to cover all of Redbridge

"Our volunteers took readings outside Fullwell Cross Library in advance of a public meeting that we are holding to discuss measures the council can take to encourage more cycling and walking in the borough," said a spokesman.

"The NOx limit breaches show that readings outside Fullwell Cross Library in Ilford North recorded up to 90.5 micrograms per cubic metre, compared with the 40mg/m3 limit set out in the government's air quality objectives.

"The emissions breach is despite action taken by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who introduced cleaner buses on routes throughout Redbridge and charges to deter dirty vehicles from central London put in place last month."

The Ulez is operational in central London and will come to parts of the borough from October 25, 2021.

Residents in South Woodford and Wanstead will be expected to pay £12.50 a day if their car does not meet exhaust emission standards. Buses, coaches and lorries will have to pay £100.

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However, the charge will only be applied up to the A406 and drivers using the North Circular and parts of the borough not in the ring road, will not have to pay.

Redbridge cabinet member for civic pride, Councillor John Howard said the air pollution readings in Barkingside are worrying for "all of us in the borough".

"It proves that we need tough action to clean up our air quality in Redbridge," he said.

"This is why we are consulting on a new air quality strategy, introducing clean air zones around schools and creating our own Low Emission Neighbourhoods. "Our commitment to reduce pollution includes working with Transport for London to improve Ilford Hill and finish Quietway 6 to make walking and cycling easier for all our residents. "We are also making it easier for drivers to swap diesel and petrol cars for more eco-friendly versions by installing more charge points in the borough this financial year. "We were one of the first London boroughs to install a public rapid charge point and in anticipation of the Ulez expanding to Redbridge in October 2021, we are looking to expand the initiative across the borough, as well as charge points for commercial vehicles." Redbridge Cycling Campaign is holding a series of public meetings in different parts of the borough and residents have the opportunity to discuss measures to encourage more active travel in Ilford North.

The next will be held at Fullwell Cross Library at 7.30pm on Monday, May 13.

Kris Sangani, of Redbridge Cycling Campaign, added: "Redbridge, in this case in Fullwell and Fairlop, are still breathing filthy air, but the council and mayor can't solve this problem alone.

"The government has to get a grip and show they're serious about protecting our health by committing to real action to tackle our toxic air." The Mayor of London has been contacted for comment.