Is Croydon’s air pollution and anti-car approach ‘pie in the sky’?

Deputy Cabinet member Jamie Audsley has sent round the following report of a meeting he held on the Council’s Air Quality Plan.

‘We know air pollution is damaging our children’s lungs and lives.

I recently brought together a wide range of community activists from across Croydon to examine the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan and generate further ideas to “kill the car” and move to sustainable forms of transport.

Check out the summary below and share your ideas for action too by emailing & – Croydon’s Cabinet Team for the Environment and Transport.

We learnt the council are focused on…

  • Cleaner transport: walking, cycling & low emission vehicles
  • Reducing the emissions of its own fleet
  • Reducing emissions from developments and buildings
  • Reducing deliveries to reduce emissions
  • Increasing public awareness to change behaviour
  • Local solutions such as parking controls outside schools

Top ideas put forward to “kill the car” …

  •  Creating car free streets
  • Charging polluting cars to enter Croydon
  • Pressuring the Westfield development to reduce car parking places

People want support to get on their bike…

  • Improved cycling infrastructure
  • Cycle super highways
  • A Croydon to Brighton cycle route

Communities see green infrastructure investment as key…

  • Rapid expansion of electric vehicle charging points
  • Expanding the tram across Croydon
  • Expanding green corridors with improved planting

Want more information…

Pie in the Sky?

The package of ideas needs to be considered in a much wider context to assess whether they are realistic or pie in the sky.

(1)     Life styles, especially re-work require lots of people to have vehicles, inc. parking vans where they live.

(2)     Families require cars because of work/school journeys dictated by marketisation of education meaning many primary school children do not go to their local school. Parents often have to drop their children off (school run) before driving to work.

(3)     Many cyclists are a menace to pedestrians and drivers, riding through red lights, cycling on pavements with no regard to the safety of themselves and others. Time for licencing and compulsory training.

(4)     Large parts of the Borough are poorly served by public transport. People are not going to give up or reduce use of their cars until there are major improvements.

(5)     Many older and people with disabilities are dependent on their cars to get out and about. Grandparents who now take on  child care responsibilities often need to drive because of their adult children’s work complexities and living further distances away.

(6)     The drop in bus use suggests that something has been going fundamentally wrong: over crowding, long waits, fear of aggressive other passengers etc, noise from use of mobile phones, etc.

(7)     Major re-think of Underground/Overground/Network Rail system needed to ensure that more east/west lines area created across Outer London Boroughs.

(8)     If Westfield goes ahead it is going to be dependent on customers driving in from Surrey, Kent and Sussex. A former Director made it clear that the type of shops in the centre would not be for Croydon people. The  whole of the Fiveways reconfiguration is to make it easier to drive into the Town Centre. (9) The current TfL bus changes for Town Centre will make coming into Town Centre by bus more difficult.

(10)   A growing amount of traffic is probably the delivery vans delivering some packages ordered on the internet rather than purchased from shops. This trend is increasing year by year.

(11)   Cycle ways and super highways. Where? Look at the Sustrans fiasco on Norbury/Kensington  Avenue area.

(12)   Traffic is also generated by people wanting to visit attractions like National Trust homes etc to the south of Croydon, which are often not accessible by public transport or special buses services.

(13)   Special public transport measures are needed  to open up access to Croydon’s Green Belt areas for recreation etc.

(14)   Car clubs may be part of the answer but what monitoring is being made of their use in schemes where they have been required by planning permission?

(15)   The more electric vehicles  replace polluting ones the air pollution argument against having a vehicle reduces.

(16)   A massive tree planting programme is needed.

(17)   Network Rail should be stopped from its wholesale cutting down of trees along railway tracks, and/or be required to fund the planting of  mature trees elsewhere.

(18)   All new building developments should be set back from the road with mature trees planted in front.

(19)   Urgent need to draft in accord with the national criteria a Local Designated List of Green Spaces.  It was a major failure of the Planners on this issue that led to the Inspector rejected the original proposed draft.

(20)   Need for study of the vehicle impacts of new housing schemes especially the tower blocks in terms of deliveries, car ownership, hire of cabs, cycling use, etc.

(21)   Is there a danger that the cycling lobby will have too great an influence considering how very low cycle use is in Croydon?

Finally recognition is needed of residents’ concerns about the cumulative effect every planning decision for new/converted housing has on street car parking, as well as their concerns about the breaches in 20mph zones (and lack of policing of them). If residents concerns are ignored then why should they listen to the Council on other transport issues?

Previous discussion





About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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1 Response to Is Croydon’s air pollution and anti-car approach ‘pie in the sky’?

  1. Ian Marvin says:

    At the same time we are talking about reducing car use TFL are proposing to drop many bus routes that cross Croydon. Few people from the north of the borough will be able to use a single bus journey to reach the civic centre where so many services are focused. The need to change buses is a serious disincentive for many. I’m sure you’ve publicised the consultation but it’s worth mentioning again. So far as cycling is concerned I personally believe it to be right to keep promoting it and there is plenty of opportunity to make Croydon more friendly to cyclists.

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