Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and central London has the highest levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.  

The Guy’s and St. Thomas’ charity, now operating its programmes under the Impact on Urban Health banner, have committed to 10 years of funding to improve air quality-related health in the residents of South London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.  

The charity commissioned the Strategy Unit to explore the health of several key groups and the factors that most influence health alongside air quality within the area. We found that:  

  • Around 220,000 residents in three key groups were at high risk of air quality related ill health. 
  • Exposures and outcomes are worse for some ethnic minority groups. 
  • There are multiple and complex issues affecting the health and wellbeing of those also most exposed to poor air quality. 
  • Nitrogen dioxide levels could be impacting on cardiovascular health, particularly so around Southwark town. 
  • Factors such crime, poor housing and education appeared to worsen poor health in some areas in combination with lower air quality. 

Anna Tarkington, Data Partnership Manager said: 

“This project has supported the Health Effects of Air Pollution (HEAP) Programme in providing a better understanding of the population in Lambeth and Southwark who are most vulnerable to air pollution. We have used insights from the project to inform subsequent work within the HEAP programme such as idea generation, targeting and design. It has also been helpful to understand some of the limitations of available data and the complexities of linking air pollution to health outcomes.” 

Please contact us if you are interested in the analysis – and whether this might be useful for your area.