We all know that our little neighbourhood suffers from high traffic levels, including large numbers of lorries and other industrial vehicles. But are you aware quite how bad air pollution is in our streets? The answer must be ‘no’ given that there was – incredibly – no air quality monitoring carried out in Plough Lane after 2013 until January this year.

So we were interested to see what figures were coming out of the air testing tubes since measurements recommenced.

Many thanks to Clean Air Merton and the Wimbledon East Hillside Residents Association for getting hold of and sharing the following information, which shows results from the following sites:

Site 25 is Alexandra Rd near SW19 7LE
Site 26 is  Gap Rd, near SW19 8JG
Site 27 is Plough Lane, near SW19 8HA

We were told: “All sites have been selected  to monitor long term effects of NO2 on receptors, so people living in the area, rather than shopping, visiting or working for shorter parts of the day. We have not monitored closer to Waterside Way as this is predominantly a commercial location with few receptors exposed for 24 hours at a time on a regular basis. This is in line with DEFRA guidance. NO2 falls off quickly with distance from source.”

The annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide is set at 40 µg m-3. This represents the so-called ‘legal’ limit.


2017 NO2 data ug/m3 monthly non bias adjusted results
Location Date On Date Off mg/m3 *
27 17/01/2017 07/02/2017 64.18
25 17/01/2017 07/02/2017 59.60
26 17/01/2017 07/02/2017 71.90
27 07/02/2017 02/03/2017 53.97
25 07/02/2017 02/03/2017 48.24
26 07/02/2017 02/03/2017 48.87
27 02/03/2017 28/03/2017 46.13
25 02/03/2017 28/03/2017 43.86
26 02/03/2017 28/03/2017 48.11
27 28/03/2017 25/04/2017 47.12
25 28/03/2017 25/04/2017 39.40
26 28/03/2017 25/04/2017 41.41

To summarise:

Site 25: Alexandra Rd: average monthly score: 47.77
Site 26:  Gap Rd: average monthly score: 52.57
Site 27: Plough Lane: average monthly score: 52.85

… against a ‘legal limit’ of  40 µg m-3.

Poor air quality, we learned at a recent meeting organised by Clean Air Merton , is particularly harmful for children’s development. Every day we see hundreds of children walking along the pavements beside these toxic roads to attend the primary and secondary schools on our doorstep. Time for action, Merton Council?