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Clean air campaigners stop the traffic in St Paul’s Way to stage their green pop-up festival

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 June 2018

Alternative transport line of traffic... get yer skates on for this novel way to travel. Picture source: Poplar Harca

Alternative transport line of traffic... get yer skates on for this novel way to travel. Picture source: Poplar Harca

Poplar Harca

Traffic was blocked off along a polluted main road in Bow Common so enthusiasts could hold a ‘clean air’ festival, of all things.

Balancing speed with comfort... using a set of wheels to get around town. Picture source: Poplar HarcaBalancing speed with comfort... using a set of wheels to get around town. Picture source: Poplar Harca

Volunteers have been monitoring carbon pollution along St Paul’s Way for several weeks, gathering air samples for analysis.

But they got the busy thoroughfare blocked off for the afternoon for Saturday’s Clean Air Day which attracted 1,000 people to St Paul’s Way Festival, with music, spoken word performances, crafts and health pop-ups by environmental groups.

Attractions to promote greener and sustainable travel included skating workshops by East London Skaters, green turf and temporary planting by Public Works, bike repairs by Tower Hamlets Wheelers and discussions on air quality in Poplar and Bow by environment groups like Friends of the Earth and Reclaiming Streets.

Geared up for biking... a pop-up repair stand at St Paul's Way Fest by Tower Hamlets Wheelers. Picture source: Poplar HarcaGeared up for biking... a pop-up repair stand at St Paul's Way Fest by Tower Hamlets Wheelers. Picture source: Poplar Harca

The festival had backing from Tower Hamlets Council which has set up a £200,000 air quality fund for community groups and organisations to help reduce air pollution in their neighbourhoods.

Mayor John Biggs who opened the festival said: “We created this ‘community’ space by closing the road, so people could come together to enjoy it without traffic for a change.”

The festival was staged by Poplar Harca Housing, St Paul’s Way Trust, The Princes’ Trust, St Paul’s Way medical centre, Friends of the Earth and Reclaiming Streets.

No street fest is complete without topical issues... these youngsters were banging on about clean air. Picture source: Poplar HarcaNo street fest is complete without topical issues... these youngsters were banging on about clean air. Picture source: Poplar Harca

Results of the air-tests over the past few weeks have shown St Paul’s Way has exceeded EU legal limits on nitrogen dioxide emissions.

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