Air Quality Targets Missed At Half Of The Sites Tested In Merton

Busy crossroads at South Wimbledon has most air pollution in borough

Car exhaust


The quality of the air we breathe can have a big impact on our health. This is why councils across London are desperately trying to reduce air pollution.


Air pollution includes particulate matter (PM) made up airborne particles including dust, soot and drops of poisonous liquid.


It also includes nitrogen dioxide which can cause asthma, bronchitis and impact on lung function.


In 2018, Merton Council operated two air quality monitoring sites and  diffusion tubes 50 location across the borough.


The small plastic tubes containing chemicals which change according to how much nitrogen dioxide is in the air.


The council’s Air Quality Action Plan 2018-23 identifies Colliers Wood, Morden, Tooting and South Wimbledon as places where the annual mean 40mg per cubic metre target was exceeded.


And the figures from 2018 show that the annual mean concentration was more than 60mg per cubic metre in six locations in the borough.


The worst polluted places in Merton: 

Merton Road, South Wimbledon – 68.8

London Road, Tooting – 67.3

High Street, Colliers Wood – 65.9

Hand and Raquet, Wimbledon Hill – 65.6

Upper Green West, Mitcham – 63.7

London Road, Morden – 61.9.

The results show that the target was exceeded at 36 of the monitored locations, a massive 72 per cent of sites.


Back in July the council declared a climate change emergency and pledged to make the whole of Merton carbon neutral by 2050 and the council a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.


Last month Councillor Tobin Byers, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from the community to our climate change emergency declaration, and many highly committed people with a vast amount of professional expertise have now come forward to be in our Climate Action Working Group. The group is now working on a plan to help us to meet our ambitious targets.


“Our climate change work for future generations also aims to make the borough a cleaner, greener and healthier place for our residents to enjoy now.  Like Friends of the Earth, we also recognise, that while councils and communities working together play a vital role, we do need the Government to take bolder steps to ensure the whole country is carbon neutral by 2050.”

By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

November 4, 2019