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Clean up our air!

Everyone should be able to breathe clean air, yet many, especially members of the global majority, live in severely polluted areas. What needs to change?

Wednesday 15 September 2021
13:00 - 14:00

Everyone should be able to breathe clean air, yet many, especially members of the global majority, live in severely polluted areas. What needs to change?

It’s all around us, it’s invisible, and it’s dangerous – in short, London’s air is thick with pollution. This negatively impacts everyone’s health, not least members
of the global majority, who are most likely to live in areas of environmental deprivation. Worryingly, vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions, are often noticeably affected.

Vehicle emissions and heating systems are the major sources of London’s pollution. The city’s two most concerning pollutants are particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which can both worsen asthma, and prove fatal.
As these dangers interact with other societal injustices to exacerbate health iniquities, air pollution demands intersectional and thoughtful solutions.

This webinar will consider the serious health impacts of air pollution, the necessity of legal reform and policy interventions, and the need for solutions to be equitable, given the marked effect of pollution on members of the global majority.

Our Expert Panel

Chair: Shazia Yamin, Leigh Day

Shazia originally trained as a barrister and was called to the Bar in 2006. She joined the consumer law and product safety group at Leigh Day in 2015 and works on the claims being brought against Volkswagen and Mercedes following the diesel emissions scandal.

Nyeleti Brauer-Maxaeia, Choked Up

Nyeleti Brauer-Maxaeia is a sixth-form student and co-founder
of the campaign group Choked Up, along with three others. The campaign seeks to enshrine the right to breathe clean air in UK law and bring air pollution limits in line with WHO guidelines. As black and brown teenagers, Choked Up aim to amplify marginalised voices within the environmental movement. To date, Choked Up have completed a campaign raising the profile of air quality in the 2021 Mayoral elections. In the campaign group Nyeleti mainly works on communication, which she does alongside her A-levels.

Dr Anant Patel, Royal Free Hospital

Dr Anant Patel is a Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead for Respiratory Medicine at Royal Free Hospital and Cleveland Clinic London with a specialist interest in lung cancer. He has been a vocal campaigner against smoking and chairs the local SmokeFree Action Group. Anant is passionate about improving the air we all breathe and is an active member of Medact advocating for their Health for a Green New Deal campaign. He recently won the 2021 London Public Sector Changemaker of the Year Award for his work on educating patients and healthcare colleagues on the health effects of air pollution. He won the 2019 Royal Free’s Clinician of the Year Award.

Rowan Smith, Leigh Day

Rowan Smith is a dedicated public lawyer, specialising in judicial review claims with a focus on human rights and the environment. He regularly acts for campaigning/community groups and a number of established NGOs. He has established a reputation as a leading climate change litigator, bringing judicial reviews against Heathrow Airport expansion as well as the UK’s emissions trading scheme. His other notable cases include a challenge to development consent for the Stonehenge Tunnel and a series of cases concerning road infrastructure.

Dr Jo Barnes, University of the West of England (UWE)

Dr Jo Barnes is a Senior Research Fellow in the Air Quality Management Resource Centre at the University of the West of England, Bristol, with 17 years’ research experience in air quality management, policy and practice at local, national, European and international levels. Jo’s

main research interest is urban air pollution, particularly road traffic- related, helping to understand and raise awareness of the health and environmental justice issues relating to local air pollution, and other urban stressors, to shape and influence policies that improve public health.