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The Air Team: Parents Uniting to Fight Air Pollution

The Air Team: Parents Uniting to Fight Air Pollution

We spoke with Air Team member Victoria Lane to learn more about this campaign group’s work to reduce air pollution, creating cleaner air for better health.

The issue is very personal to Victoria, a mum of three young kids in Hackney, North London. When she was six months pregnant with her youngest child she had to be hospitalised with pneumonia. She was in intensive care, in and out of consciousness and obviously very worried about her unborn child’s health as well. Her breathing difficulties had been building since moving to Stoke Newington Church Street, an area in London known for high air pollution levels.

Let’s find out more about the urgent and important efforts the Air Team are making to reduce air pollution…

Please tell us about your organisation.

The Air Team is a campaigning group made up of parents who are aware of how damaging toxic air can be, and many have experienced effects of pollution in some way (kids have asthma, experienced respiratory issues themselves, etc) and so wanted to join forces with others to try and tackle the issues. Most people became involved because they were campaigning locally, in groups such as Mums for Lungs and heard about the work others were doing – and so the clean air team was born.


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What are your goals?

To reduce air pollution and toxic air in the UK. Childhood exposure to air pollution can lead to permanently reduced lung function, and dirty air has been shown to affect the development of foetuses as well. This isn’t the Victorian age. Our children deserve better.

How many parents are involved? How is it structured?

There are about 12 parents involved, although most work with others in their community too in local action groups, so the overall number of parents involved in campaigning is much higher than that. It’s a flat structure, so we try and meet every few months to decide what we should focus on in the next few months and everyone does what they can to help on that.



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What is your current campaign?

We’ve just launched a new campaign called Breathe UK which focuses on the impact that air pollution has on curbing children’s potential – stunting children’s lung development, limiting their capacity to exercise; and experts tell us is likely having a negative effect on their sporting performance.

We are initially linking the campaign with air pollution’s impact on sporting potential. Our own research revealed a worrying amount of sports grounds and playing fields with air pollution levels that exceed or are close to World Health Organisation limits. We’re calling on parents, PE teachers, sporting organisations and others to join the campaign. Together we can highlight the huge gains to be made when we take action on air pollution.

Related content: Tips for a cleaner, greener home

What are the main obstacles the group faces?

Apathy – people unwilling to change their behaviours or give up cars. People refusing to see the damage being done to children through our car culture.

Are you holding any events or fundraisers this year?

We will organise events linked with the campaign but no plans yet. Follow us on social media (links below) to stay tuned for upcoming activities, or sign up for our monthly newsletter.

How are you funded?

We have a small amount of funding and support from an organisation called Glimpse, a collective for those who want to use creative talents to campaign for change.


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How can other parents get involved with the Air Team? Can schools and kids get involved?

Yes please! You can sign up to receive monthly action updates and tips on our website. The bigger we are the more impact we can have!

What changes do you recommend people make to help improve air quality?

1) Reduce car use and cycle, walk or use public transport instead.
2) Stop using woodburners and fires unless you have no other option in which case, use eco-friendly fuel.
3) Think about your impact on air quality, are you getting regular next day deliveries for example.
4) Call on your local authorities/the government to put in place clean air zones, or sign our handy petition that does just this!
5) Talk about air pollution, it will raise awareness.

Related content: Clean Air Day Campaign Spotlight

Please tell us some good news about London’s air.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion has started to make a real difference. This is being further expanded in 2021. The changes in the law around home fuels for fire, coming in to place in 2021 will have a real impact as home fires and wood burning stoves are bigger polluters than cars in London.


Stay up to date with the Air Team or get involved: Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

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