Drivers in Tower Hamlets urged to ditch their cars throughout June

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs. Pic: LBTH

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs. Pic: LBTH - Credit: Archant

Drivers in Tower Hamlets are being urged to ditch their cars as it was revealed one stretch of road in the borough sees 100,000 vehicles travelling down it every day.

Throughout June the council is running a "breathe clean challenge" campaign to encourage more drivers will take up cycling and walking to help reduce air pollution.

It coincides with the launch of the council's "livable streets" initiative, which aims to make it easier, safer and more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport.

Columbia Road will be transformed into the first "livable street" on June 7.

Mayor John Biggs said: "Locally our air quality exceeds safe standards and it's affecting our residents' health. We all need to do our bit both individually and by working together to make our air cleaner. I can also personally recommend walking to work - it is my preferred type of travel and it's great for your wellbeing."

Tower Hamlets records some of the highest air pollution levels in London and the majority of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), come from traffic.

The busiest parts of the A12, which runs through Bow and Hackney Wick, accommodate more than 100,000 vehicles ever day.

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NO2 can be particularly harmful to lung development and children in the borough have up to 10 per cent less lung capacity than the national average, according to a recent Kings College study.

Councillor Rachel Blake, deputy mayor for planning and air quality, added: "I would urge everyone to take the challenge and try to avoid using their cars in June where they can.

"This is a good opportunity to reduce local air pollution - and that benefits both people and our environment."