Air quality affects us all. Everyone’s health is affected by the poor air quality around us, but the poor and the vulnerable are more likely to live in the most polluted areas, and children’s lungs are affected most of all. I will be monitoring air quality in the local area and highlighting the risks to health that it presents.


We all know that trees are part of the answer to improving air quality, but authorities don’t always know where to put them, particularly in densely populated urban areas. You, however, might. Councillor Cllr Nina Degrads and I want local Labour and community members to crowd source ideas about where to plant new trees. We’ll collate these and pass them on to officers at your council. There is no guarantee that they will be planted, but councils are open to consideration.

If you are thinking about submitting a location, try and be as specific as possible. The best sites are often where there are empty pits where you can see there has been a tree there before – that’s usually a sign that there are no cables or pipes underneath that might otherwise get in the way. Try and avoid junctions, driveways, crossings or utilities or where there are significant trees close by.

To submit a location, just email Rowenna directly ( If you’re north or east of Croydon town centre including New Addington, please also copy in Tom (, if you’re in the town centre or to the south or west of it, please copy in Andrew ( and if you’re in Carshalton and Wallington or Sutton please copy in Alison (

We know this is a small step in the fight against the air emergency, but at least it’s something. If this campaign gives local people a little more power to build a healthier, greener community, we will consider it a success. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!


You can see it in the grime cyclists wipe off their face from the fumes. You can hear it in the pollution alerts that mean some families can’t go out, or in the wheeze of an asthma pump. You can feel it as someone buries their nose in their sleeve or in the headaches and faintness that throb after a day of standstill traffic.

Air quality is fundamental to the health of our people and our planet. Croydon and Sutton Councils have been right to declare a climate emergency; one important part of that is tackling poor air quality. That’s why Cllr Nina Degrads and I, along with other leaders including Thomas Bowell and Joseph O’Malley, are launching this campaign. Over the next few days we will be announcing a series of events and actions to help make a difference – and we would love you to be involved.

We are motivated by the health of ourselves and our people. The RCP has documented how air quality impacts the most vulnerable, particularly children and older people, and how it exacerbates conditions from obesity to cancer and heart disease. Research gathered by the Mayor shows that there were over 200 early deaths caused by air pollution in Croydon alone every year and over 100 in Sutton (see links below).

We are also motivated by social justice. We know that poorer people are more likely to live in highly congested areas or along busy roads. Many of us don’t have the financial means to move out to leafier, fresher areas. Families on lower incomes are less likely to be able to afford to send their child to school in an area with green fields and trees. Escaping the air emergency comes at a price that many cannot afford to pay.

Finally, we are motivated by climate change. Air quality is on the front line in the fight against global warming because it’s often where people feel air pollution most personally and directly. Many of the changes that would benefit our personal health and happiness would also slow the overheating of our planet. A Green New Deal to help fight climate change would also help cleanse the air we breathe – and provide jobs and investment in the process.

So for all of these reasons, we ask you to recognise the air emergency we are now facing and take action. We need your energy, your ideas, your time and your creativity. Will you join us?

Get in touch!


Call / text on 07957 981497