NCT members campaign for cleaner air

Parents from NCT Brixton branch have launched Mums for Lungs to campaign on the pressing issue of air pollution and the impact on our babies’ health

Members of NCT Brixton branch have embarked on a challenge – to achieve clean and healthy air for everyone to breathe by 2020.

Mums for Lungs group members meeting London Mayor Sadiq Khan

One of the founders of Mums for Lungs is NCT member Jemima Hartshorn.

She explains: ‘As we were pushing our babies around South London, walking to parks and crossing some of Lambeth’s biggest main roads, we began to share our worries about air pollution and the impact on our babies’ health.’

She adds: ‘There’s something very powerful about seeing your baby’s pushchair lined up at a pedestrian crossing with trucks and buses chugging out exhaust fumes at the same level as their faces.’

Air pollution: the facts

  • Air pollution can affect the development of children’s lungs, reducing their capacity by up to 10%, according to the British Lung Foundation. It can lead to asthma and persistent coughs and may affect babies in the womb.
  • Worryingly, 950 schools in the UK are less than 150 metres from illegally polluted roads.
  • A massive 71% of local authorities in the UK have zones with air pollution levels above legal limits defined by the European Union. Air pollution is not just a London issue.

‘We started to see our NCT and mums meet-ups as more than just a supportive coffee to discuss sleeping patterns and nappy rash.’

She adds: ‘It became an opportunity to do something really positive with all that energy and passion we had. Within eight months we’ve grown to around 15-20 active members.’

The group have a simple target – clean air – and they believe it’s achievable.

Specifically they are calling for a network of Low Emission Zones and a workable diesel scrappage scheme that doesn’t unfairly target poorer families and small businesses.

They would also like to see incentives to leave the car at home and to make walking and cycling more attractive.

They’ve been busy doing face-to-face campaigning, handing out leaflets, emailing MPs and responding to public consultations on plans by central and local government.

They were invited to City Hall to meet representatives from the city’s Air Quality Team and they’ll also be meeting the Cabinet member for the Environment at Lambeth Council.

More information

Sign the petition now!
The group have set up a petition which has attracted nearly 1,200 signatures in just three months. It will be presented directly to Mayor Sadiq Khan. Sign now by clicking here.

Take a look at the Facebook page
Like the Mums for Lungs Facebook page by clicking here.

Set up your own local Mums for Lungs group
The team are delighted to announce they’re launching their first ‘franchise’ of a new Mums for Lungs group in East Sheen in London. They will give as much support and encouragement as they can to anyone who’d like to set up a group in their area as they believe local networks with good contacts are the best way to enact change. Get in touch through Facebook.

Monitor the air quality in your area
Many councils don’t monitor air quality comprehensively, but you can. Friends of the Earth can send out easy-to-use kits that you can set up outside your own home. Click here to order a kit for a minimum donation of £15 to cover the cost of the kit and lab analysis.