Bromley Living Streets calls on London’s next Mayor to take stronger action on air pollution

We’re proud to join a coalition of local groups calling on London’s next Mayor to commit to stronger action to tackle air pollution, ahead of the Mayoral election on 2 May 2024.

Although substantial progress has been achieved in London, the next Mayor still has an important responsibility to help clean up our air and protect young and old residents from the lifelong impacts of air pollution.

Air pollution is a major public health issue in Bromley, since we have a large population of older residents who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. Efforts to encourage a shift to less polluting transport modes such as bus, rail, walking or cycling, is constrained as some parts of the borough have limited public transport services and major gaps in provision for safe walking or cycling.

Doctors have voiced their concerns about the ‘devastating health consequences’ of air pollution that they see on a daily basis, and the health and social care costs of air pollution are predicted to reach £18.6 billion/year by 2035 unless action is taken.

The coalition is asking the four main London Mayoral candidates for

  1. An unequivocal commitment for London to meet the latest World Health Organization air pollution guidelines. This needs a roadmap, including financial support where required, to meet interim targets by 2030 at the latest which will include the need to:
    Phase out diesel engines by 2030 (except for specific exemptions).
    Phase out wood burning in open fires and wood stoves by 2030. 
  2. Mayoral leadership on an effective London-wide strategy to roll out School Superzones.
  3. A state-of-the-art website for Londoners to access all air quality monitoring in one place, alongside the latest health evidence, modelling projections and reports.

A more detailed summary of the asks is available here: London Mayoral Election 2024.

Breathe London air quality monitor installed at Elmers End Free Church

On Saturday 20th January Bromley Living Streets installed a new air quality monitor at Elmers End Free Church on Goddard Road. We hope this monitor will make a valuable contribution to better understand air quality in Elmers End. Once the monitor is connected, real-time data will be available on the Breathe London website.

Image of the air quality monitor installed on the exterior wall of Elmers End Free Church
Breathe London monitor, Elmers End Free Church

The monitor, funded by the Breathe London Community Programme, is Bromley’s fourth node on the Breathe London network, following the installation of monitors at the Beckenham Beacon, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) and Orpington Hospital in mid-2022. Bromley Council also maintains an air quality monitor on Harwood Avenue near the Civic Centre, with data available online through the London Air Quality Network.

Bromley Council’s Air Quality Action Plan 2020-2025 identified Elmers End Road as having the highest NO2 concentration in the borough (based on data from diffusion tubes), with an average of 51µg/m³. This exceeds the UK annual average guideline of 40µg/m³ and the WHO annual average guideline of 10µg/m³.

If you are part of a local community or faith group that would be interested in installing an air quality node, please reach out to us at While the Breathe London scheme is not currently offering grants to purchase the monitors, we are looking for alternative funding sources and would love to partner with other local groups.

Air monitoring at schools

Source: domdomegg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a followup to our 2021 report on air pollution around Bromley schools, Bromley Living Streets have managed to get 12 air pollution monitors to be used at schools, as part of a big project funded by the charity Asthma and Lung UK ( The monitors need to be set up as soon as possible, so we are reaching out to schools across Bromley Borough and offering the monitors on a ‘first come first served’ basis. If you think your school’s headteacher might agree to putting up the monitors please read on! Here’s what you (and the headteacher) need to know:

What do we need? We need permission from the school to attach three small plastic tubes (called ‘diffusion tubes’) to fences, walls or gates out of reach (we recommend 2 metres off the ground). There needs to be free circulation of air round the tube and they need to be located as near to the road as possible. Each tube will remain in place for 3 to 4 weeks and will then be sent to a lab for analysis. We will get the results back 6 weeks later. (Further details available on request.)

Why is this worth doing? London car pollution is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic, and according to a report published in February 57 Bromley schools exceed the interim WHO guideline for PM2.5, and all Bromley schools exceed the WHO guideline for Nitrogen Dioxide (in particular, see the table on pages 49 to 52 of the report). Air pollution can cause new lung conditions like lung cancer and worsen existing ones like asthma. Children are particularly vulnerable as their lungs are still growing. Results from your school’s diffusion tubes will give an indicative idea of how bad the problem is. The data can be used to raise awareness and demand change. The charity Asthma and Lung UK offers support and ideas for how to take action, including through its ‘Clean Air Champions‘ scheme for primary schools.

What next? Get permission from the school, ideally this week. We are very happy to talk to someone in the school administration if you think this would be helpful, and we are happy to try to help answer any questions you might have. Thanks for taking the time to engage with this!

ULEZ motion in Bromley Council

On Monday 18 July at 7pm, a meeting of the full Council (all 58 councillors) will take place in London Borough of Bromley. One of the items that will be discussed is a motion which calls on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to abandon his plans to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The text of the motion can be found below. We encourage Bromley residents to do two things:

  1. Submit questions to the Portfolio Holders for Transport (Cllr Bennett) and Environment (Cllr Cuthbert) around this motion which they are moving. Do this by sending an email to, including a 50 word question on ULEZ (see below for more ideas about questions to ask), and explain your question is for the Council meeting on Monday 18 July. Questions must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 12 July.
  2. Use this link to reply to the consultation on the expansion of the ULEZ.

The text of the motion is as follows:

“This Council supports the objective of improving air quality and to this end has published a comprehensive Air Quality Action Plan 2020-2025 with a matrix of twenty-five actions. The Council is committed to ensuring that its operation is carbon net zero by 2027. In addition, a further 5,000 trees are being planted on the borough’s roads to add to the existing 36,000. We are also continuing our rollout of LED street lighting, installing new electric charge points, and investing in renewable energy. The Council, however, disagrees strongly with the proposal to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to outer London by August 2023. Bromley is, geographically, the largest London Borough, and contains many rural areas which have little public transport and where, unlike inner London, residents are dependent on their cars. The Council is particularly concerned about the impact on the self-employed, small businesses which rely on their vehicles to conduct their trade and on elderly residents and others on fixed incomes. Already facing substantial increases in fuel costs, the imposition of a daily charge to drive in the borough will be an additional financial burden and, for many, without the means purchase a compliant vehicle, it will mean they can no longer trade or afford to drive. The imposition of the ULEZ charge on motorists, including those entering Bromley from neighbouring counties will also be detrimental, especially for those like nurses, police officers, supermarket shelf fillers and others working anti-social hours when public transport is not available. The Council therefore calls on Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to abandon his plans to extend the ULEZ.”

Some questions

  1. When will Bromley Council report on progress made against the matrix of 25 actions contained in the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan, and will the Council consider introducing targets to this plan in order to measure progress?
  2. National Travel Survey statistics indicate the most common purpose for a trip by car was for leisure (30%) in 2020. Given that these trips negatively impact other residents (e.g. 23% Bromley households with no car), how does Bromley Council propose to reduce those trips?
  3. Just 2 A roads in Bromley Borough are the responsibility of TfL, and yet page 3 of Bromley Council’s Air Quality Action Plan states that the majority of Bromley’s busy A roads are the responsibility of TfL. Please comment.
  4. We need to halve emissions by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. The Council’s own calculations indicate Bromley’s 5000 extra trees will reduce borough emissions by 0.008% after 30 years. If not ULEZ, then what methods will Bromley Council use to reduce the borough’s emissions?
  5. In the past decade, vehicle miles travelled in Bromley borough increased from 800 million to a billion. If not ULEZ, then what methods will Bromley Council use to reduce congestion and carbon emissions and air pollution from transport?

Now the elections are over, what next for safer walking and cycling in Bromley?

The local elections brought in a number of new councillors to represent wards across Bromley. As shown below, the main changes were Liberal Democrat councillors in Beckenham Town & Copers Cope and Bromley Town, Labour councillors in Plaistow and St Mary Cray, and the independent party Chislehurst Matters in Chislehurst. Bromley remains Conservative-controlled with a majority of 14 councillors. Many wards that remained Conservative also had new ward councillors selected. 

What does this mean for ongoing community-led efforts to improve the safety and liveability of our streets? The good news is that many new councillors take a supportive stance on safer streets, air pollution, encouraging walking and cycling, and climate change. Moreover, the range of councillors elected promises vibrant debate on many topics.

Bromley Liberal Democrats supported Mums for Lungs election pledges, which included a call for a clean air cabinet member, a diesel-free borough by 2030, advocacy to phase out wood burning and the goal of delivering a School Street at every school by 2025 (with an alternative package of road safety measures where temporary road closures are not feasible).

Bromley Liberal Democrats, Bromley Labour, Bromley Greens and Chislehurst Matters all supported Bromley Cyclists’ call for the development and implementation of an active travel strategy designed to increase the cycling trip share in Bromley from 1.8% to 5% by 2026/7. While the Conservatives did not provide a formal endorsement, Councillor Michael Tickner (Beckenham Town & Copers Cope ward) crucially acknowledged by email that: “safe cycle-friendly infrastructure has to be provided first in order for more people to take up cycling, not the other way round”. 

Bromley Liberal Democrats, Bromley Labour and Bromley Green Party supported a coalition of community and faith-based groups calling for Bromley Council to declare a climate emergency and produce a plan to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all activities across the borough. Climate action, active travel and road safety are tightly-linked issues as reaching net-zero will require a large shift towards walking, cycling and public transport use in Bromley.

In addition to this, all parties covered issues related to air quality, safer streets and more support for walking and cycling for all, such as the lack of a safe crossing at Chislehurst War Memorial, the lack of safe crossings on South Eden Park Road, and concerns over safety raised in the 2020 School Travel Survey conducted by Bromley Living Streets.

So what changes can we expect to see, and how can local communities support all ward councillors to give Bromley residents more sustainable travel choices and cleaner air? In this blog post we set out four priorities for change and four things that you can do to support councillors.


1. Safe pedestrian crossings
Local centres across Bromley should have pedestrian crossings – either zebra or signalised crossings – to create safe walking routes to local parks, schools, high streets, and public facilities. These routes should be provided pro-actively, instead of waiting for a minimum number of casualties to justify a crossing at any given location.

2. A cycle network
Bromley lacks a joined-up network of separated cycle lanes across the borough, which is a major barrier to cycling for many residents. A network of protected cycle lanes connecting local centres across the borough will make it safer to switch to cycling as a low-cost travel option that reduces air pollution, congestion, and increases daily exercise.

3. Measures to reduce speeding
Until now Bromley Council has only taken limited action on speeding, often deferring responsibility to the Metropolitan Police and installing advisory warning signs that make only minimal difference to driver behaviour. Traffic calming measures should be introduced to reduce vehicle speeds and improve road safety.

4. School Streets
A School Street is a temporary restriction on motor vehicle traffic outside schools during drop-off and pick-up hours, to improve air quality and traffic safety at the school gate, and encourage parents to walk or cycle instead of driving. Over 500 School Streets have been introduced in London, mostly since the start of the pandemic. Bromley Council received funding from TfL for 11 School Streets but only six have been implemented so far.


1. Make your voice heard
Your ward councillors are accountable to you, and you can write to them to ask for stronger action to make it safer to walk and cycle locally. Walking and cycling schemes can be sensitive when they impact things like on-street parking or right-of-way for drivers, so it’s important that councillors hear from those supporting change. You can copy your local residents’ association and Bromley Living Streets in on correspondence with councillors. Additionally, you can submit questions to Bromley Council to raise concerns at its Environment Committee public meeting. You can also subscribe to newsletters from Bromley Living Streets to stay up to date.

2. Start small
Alongside campaigns calling for safer streets, we can also push for change by working with the organisations and groups to which we are already connected. Reach out to your child’s school to ask about setting up a School Street, or work with your local church, faith group, community organisation or sports club to encourage and enable people to walk, cycle or take public transport to meetings or activities where possible.

3. Leadership from community and business organisations
Many organisations are reluctant to take openly political positions, however, this doesn’t mean you cannot give general support to measures that would improve road safety, air quality, and enable active travel. Moreover, as a key local stakeholder you could also contribute to shape how new schemes are designed and implemented to ensure that they meet local needs. For businesses this also makes good financial sense: more walkable streets are important to the local economy, pedestrians and cyclists spend 40% more in local shops than those travelling by car, and unsafe levels of air pollution are beginning to have a negative impact on property values.

4. Don’t give up!
Unfortunately, these changes won’t happen overnight. Continued support is needed from residents to encourage councillors to support safer streets, and hold them to account if they don’t deliver on their commitments.

New Year, New Environment Committee Meeting!

Happy New Year! Can you spare 5 minutes today to send a question to Bromley Council Environment Committee? There’s no time to lose: questions need to be submitted by 5pm on 5 January to be accepted for the committee meeting on 19 January – full details of how to submit questions can be found here, and information about the meeting can be found here

Bromley Council’s Environment and Community Services PDS Committee examines executive decisions and reviews policy on transport (highways development, traffic, road safety and parking), street services, waste and recycling and parks and open spaces. We in Bromley Living Streets think that asking questions to the Environment Committee is a very valuable way to let the Council know what matters to local people – particularly important to do now, given that local elections are taking place on 5 May 2022. Environment Committee meetings are the place where Bromley Council’s projects and policies are scrutinised, and members of the public raising issues in this forum is an important part of local democracy and a key way of encouraging local councillors to take action.

So what should you ask questions about? That’s up to you, but we have some ideas you might want to consider. Below we present some ideas for questions relating to active travel and safe streets across the borough, including pedestrian crossings, air pollution, school streets, speed limits, Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) statistics and COP26. We also encourage you to look at the Council’s Environment Matters newsletter (available here) and take this opportunity to ask the Council for clarification or evidence on the topics and claims contained in the newsletter.

Feel free to Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) us into your email when you submit your questions, or forward your submitted questions to us after sending them to, so that we are aware of the issues that have been raised.

Potential topics and questions:

Pedestrian crossings

  1. Bromley’s Air Quality Action Plan was approved at the November 2021 Environment Committee meeting. On the final page of Appendix A, under “Reducing emissions from transport”, it is stated that a target for the number of new pedestrian crossings will be established – when, and based on what evidence?

Air pollution

  1. Bromley’s Air Quality Action Plan (approved in November 2021) claims no schools in Bromley are exposed to NO2 concentrations that exceed annual limits (page 8). Maps available on the London Air website suggest otherwise. Please set out all the evidence, with references where appropriate, upon which this claim is made.

School Streets

  1. In July 2021, 500+ School Streets were in place across LondonBromley Council’s website states the borough has 4, but it’s now 3. Given demand from Bromley parents, and evidence of health benefits, road danger reduction, and improved independent mobility for children, will the Council commit to more trials now?
  2. What would be the cost of one ANPR vehicle to provide enforcement of Bromley School Streets, for one hour at start and finish of the school day for the entire Spring term, and could this cost be covered by the money Bromley Council received from TfL to provide School Streets?
  3. The Portfolio Holder has previously stated the three schools on Hawksbrook Lane “were very keen” to have a School Street, but this has not been installed due to “the potential number of vehicle movements which still could occur”.  Please provide the evidence base that informed this decision.

Speed limits

  1. In response to previous questions, the Portfolio Holder stated the borough’s experience is that drivers who ignore 30mph limits ignore lower speed limits, and drivers are much more likely to change behaviour where reduced speeds are advised near a clear hazard or justification. Please provide evidence to support this.
  2. In a Council meeting on 6 December 2021, Councillor Tickner described 20mph speed limits as “socialist”. Does the Portfolio Holder agree with this characterisation?

Net carbon zero target

  1. The ‘COP26 Special Edition’ of Environment Matters states that “Bromley has always been London’s greenest borough and we have one of the most ambitious net carbon zero targets in the Capital.” Please set out all the evidence, with references where appropriate, upon which this claim is made.

Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) statistics

  1. The latest edition of Environment Matters states the 28% reduction in Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) casualties in 2020 is “perhaps partly explained” by “lockdown”. Would the Portfolio Holder agree that it is very likely that the 19% reduction in vehicle miles travelled in the borough is a factor? (19% figure calculated using DfT statistics from 2019 and 2020, available here)

Please do get in touch with any questions, suggestions, feedback, or if you’d like us to put you in touch with other Bromley Living Streets members living in your neighbourhood.

Best wishes for the New Year from Bromley Living Streets

Graffiti on a tree in Church House Gardens, Bromley. Photo by Brendan.

Happy International Day of Clean Air for blue skies!

Image Source: “Clearsky1”

7 September is the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. In 2021, the theme of this day is “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet”. Why not take 2 minutes today to raise your concerns with your elected representatives in central and local government? 

Here are some ideas and resources for how you could do this:

Contact your elected representatives

The website WriteToThem will give you contact details for your MP, Councillors, and GLA representatives.  

If writing to your MP, encourage them to engage with the Environment Bill – perhaps using this resource from British Lung Foundation: or, alternatively, the set of demands set out by Mums for Lungs here. (Here’s ClientEarth on why the Environment Bill matters.)

If writing to your councillors, you might want to ask them questions relating to the report we published in July this year (“Air pollution and safety around Bromley schools”). You may also want to ask them what progress Bromley Council has made on the actions set out in Appendix A of Bromley Council’s Air Quality Action Plan, which can be downloaded here (Appendix A starts on page 25). Bromley Council’s consultation on its Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) 2020-2025 received 869 responses from the public over 6 weeks in June-August 2020 – according to the Council, this is three times the average response for such consultations. You can read Bromley Living Streets’ response to that consultation here, and you can use the map on page 8 of the AQAP to see whether your local area is part of Bromley’s Air Quality Management Area. You can find out more about Air Quality Management Areas here.

What else could you do today?

You could nominate your local school for free resources, workshops and interventions on idling –; or you could sign them up for Airly’s #LetSchoolsBreathe campaign.

You could join Breathe London’s Network as an individual, or the Breathe London Node as a community organisation or local government.

You could print, photocopy and distribute these amazing anti-idling flyers produced by Mums for Lungs, or ask Mums for Lungs to send you some of their wood burning flyers by completing this form.

Have a great day!

Air pollution and safety around Bromley schools

Stronger action is needed

Ruben de Rijcke, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This report by Bromley Living Streets presents key data on air pollution and safety around Bromley schools, and presents ideas for how Bromley residents can take action to improve their neighbourhood between now and the May 2022 local elections.

Bromley Council is under Conservative control, with Conservative councillors in 50 of the 60 seats in Full Council. This report takes as its starting point the recent claim made by Bromley Conservatives that “no schools are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution” in the London Borough of Bromley (see below). 

First, we make the case that the use of the word “unsafe” is factually incorrect in this context. We draw on the same modelled data used by Bromley Conservatives, as well as commitments made by Bromley Council in its Air Quality Action Plan. We also present air quality data we have collected ourselves in June and July 2021, using the Flow2 portable air monitor produced by Plume Labs

Second, we present data collected through our School Travel Survey, indicating high demand for action to improve roads around Bromley’s schools. 5,500 Bromley parents responded to our School Travel Survey last autumn, and the overwhelming message was that parents would love their children to walk or cycle to school, but at present they do not feel local roads are safe enough.

Third, we make the case that it is entirely possible to imagine better streets for Bromley borough, particularly around schools. We present a visualisation showing what some of our roads could look like if they were redesigned to serve the needs of people travelling on foot or by bicycle as well as people travelling by car or bus. In a future report, we will present information about Bromley’s existing 6 school streets, and the amount of money Bromley Council might have available to spend on improvements to roads once Bromley starts enforcing traffic offences (Bromley is the last borough in London to do this).

Local government elections in May 2022 represent a key opportunity for Bromley residents to push for improvements to their neighbourhoods, as all borough councillor seats are up for election. With this in mind, our report also suggests some actions local residents can take now in order to ensure that better streets for Bromley are firmly on the agenda for the May 2022 elections.

Bromley Living Streets is a group of residents in the London Borough of Bromley, campaigning for safer, quieter streets suitable for all people and all modes of travel, particularly walking, cycling and public transport. We have been doing this since August 2018 as volunteers, because we believe it is the right thing to do for the people of Bromley and for the planet. Bromley Living Streets is a local group of Living Streets, the national charity for everyday walking. You can contact us here. We would love to hear from you, particularly in the coming months as we start to talk to political parties about what they intend to commit to if they are successful in the May 2022 elections.

What do you think?

Do you have ideas about the street where you live, a street you frequently travel on, or a street where children go to school?

You might want to consider presenting data and evidence to your councillors, and Bromley Living Streets is willing and able to provide support to you with this. You could monitor air pollution outside your local school or create visualisations of what ‘problem roads’ near you could look like, as we have done here. You could start a local community conversation about this, and Bromley Living Streets would be very happy to talk to you, your school or community group about what can be done locally – we have been doing this for the past 3 years. You can also ask their councillors what action they are taking and why they aren’t creating more school streets.

Let us know, and let your councillors know – otherwise they will approach the elections next May with the idea that all their constituents want things to stay as they are. This is a problem because in fact things will not stay as they are, they will get significantly worse: current trends indicate massive increase in vehicle miles in Bromley borough, the annual traffic by motor vehicles has increased from 800 million to a billion between 2009 and 2019. Unless we support people to get out of their cars and travel on foot or bicycle where possible, the future of Bromley’s roads is traffic jams, and congestion is bad news for anyone travelling by road.

How safe is the air Bromley children are breathing on their way to school?

In early June 2021, as the dust settled on the London Mayoral elections, Bromley Conservatives launched their election campaign for May 2022 local elections with a leaflet that claimed that “no schools are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.” Over Twitter, Cllr Harmer has clarified that this claim was based on modelled data from the Mayor’s Office and EU standards.

There are a couple of problems with the claim made by Bromley Conservatives. First, it is factually incorrect – because there is no ‘safe’ level of most air pollutants. This is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO):

This quote comes from page 188 of this report. The obvious response to this point is contained within the twitter exchange and WHO quote, above: societies choose a level of risk that is acceptable to them, and enshrine this in law – i.e. what Bromley Conservatives meant to say is that no schools are exposed to illegal levels of air pollution. However…the Bromley Air Quality Action Plan explicitly makes this point about there being no safe level for many air pollutants and states the council commits to target compliance with WHO guidelines in future. 

So how do Bromley schools measure up against WHO guidelines?

We have collected data that shows a different story, as every school we visited with an air quality monitor during June and July exceeded WHO guidelines, and even the modelled air quality data used by Bromley Conservatives shows air pollution outside many Bromley schools exceeds WHO guidelines (see the end of this report for more on this). We would love to discuss these findings further with Bromley councillors.

To test the modelled data used by Bromley Conservatives in their leaflet, we collected air quality data around several Bromley schools during the morning peak period. The air quality monitor we used, the portable Flow2 monitor produced by Plume Labs, is estimated to be within 10% of accuracy. The data gives good reason for concern about air pollution outside some Bromley schools. We provide one case study below, and will share data from other schools in the coming weeks.

Valley School

This image shows air quality on the school run for one of us, at Valley School in Shortlands village, in Bromley Town ward. The two purple peaks on the left of the chart are 8.30am and 9am. Both peaks are at the end of Farnaby road. In between, we walked to the school gate, did the school drop-off, then went to the shops in Shortlands village, then went home. The pollution level subsides in the school playground.

The purple colour of the peaks on the chart indicate air pollution is ‘Very high’ according to the Plume Air Quality Index used in the Flow2 monitor. You can read more about the Plume Index here, but the key point is that the categories in the Index (Low, Moderate, High, Very High, Excessive) are linked to the exposure limits outlined by the World Health Organisation, with each category representing the amount of time it is safe to spend in that level of pollution.

The meaning of ‘Very high’ is that effects will immediately be felt by individuals at risk, and everybody feels the effects of prolonged exposure.

Data on how Bromley children travel to schools, and how they would travel to schools if they felt roads were safe

“I wish it was safe for my children to cycle to school. I hate adding to the pollution.”

Parent response to the Bromley Living Streets 2020 School Travel Survey

Air pollution can be reduced significantly with changes to street design and transport infrastructure such as school streets. The cause of the air pollution outside Bromley schools is motor vehicles. Many of these are on the school run. Could we get parents and carers to consider alternatives to driving their children to school? We believe that in many cases the answer is yes. Our September 2020 School Travel Survey strongly supports this, with 5,500 responses with Bromley parents indicating, that they would encourage their children to walk, cycle or scoot to school if they felt it was safe to do so. It is not a question of parents being unwilling to take more sustainable modes, but a lack of adequate street infrastructures to allow children and parents to walk and cycle safely. How could we make this possible?

How the school run could look if we improved the public realm for all road users

Here is a visualisation showing what some of our roads could look like if they were redesigned to serve the needs of people travelling on foot or by bicycle as well as people travelling by car or bus.

Some things to note:

This street is safer and more pleasant for people travelling on foot or by bicycle.

This street is also better for people travelling by car or bus because there will be fewer motorised vehicles and so less likelihood of traffic.

Not all roads are suitable for modifications of this kind. Some may be suitable for other kinds of modifications/measures aimed at traffic calming, such as school streets, or a wide range of options such as those detailed in this document:

Redesigning our roads to serve the needs of all road users is not impossible, a pipe dream, or pie in the sky. ‘Modal shift’ – supporting people to use cars less and walk or cycle more – has been successfully achieved in many European cities and some UK areas (such as Waltham Forest).

Redesigning our roads to serve the needs of all road users is government policy. In February 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated that half of all urban journeys must be on foot or by bicycle by 2030. You might also want to look at the Gear Change plan, published by the Department for Transport in July 2020.

Modelled air pollution at Bromley schools

Below are images of modelled air pollution taken from the London Air website for selected Bromley schools, all of which show air pollution levels higher than World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. We hope parents at these schools will use these images to ask their councillors what they are doing about this issue.

In each of these images, air pollution levels are above the WHO limit for PM2.5 (10µg m-3) – probably somewhere between 12 and 14. At present, the EU limit for PM2.5 is 25 – but the EU plans to tighten air pollution limits next year, to better align them with upcoming World Health Organisation recommendations.

Here’s how you can produce your own images of data for your street or area: Go to the map on the London Air website and insert a postcode. There’s a drop down below the map to select different pollutants. Then take a screenshot. That’s all you need to do.

Valley School, Beckenham Lane
Bickley Primary, St Georges CofE and La Fontaine
Langley Park School for Boys, Langley Park School for Girls and Langley Park Primary, Eden Park Road
Unicorn Primary School, Eden Park Road
Raglan Primary School, Raglan Road
Southborough Primary, Southborough Lane