ULEZ signs

Lewisham child has no need for inhaler since ULEZ expanded

A mother from Lewisham has claimed her son who has asthma has not needed to use his inhaler since the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was expanded across all London boroughs in August.

Jane Alaszewski, 50, said her 12-year-old son was using his inhaler every day after developing persistent asthma.

However, since ULEZ was expanded last month, the reduction in traffic on the A20 has had a positive impact.

She said: “Every time we leave Lewisham or the A20, if we go away for a night or a week, we don’t need to use his inhalers.

“The night we get back, he starts wheezing and we need to use them again. But we haven’t needed to use them since ULEZ came in.” 

A selfie of Jane Alaszewski

ULEZ, which is aiming to improve air quality in London, was first introduced in parts of Lewisham in 2021 but as of last month, it applies to the whole borough and its arterial roads.

According to charity Asthma and Lung UK, September usually sees an increase in air pollution, as school and work traffic resumes. 

However, Alaszewski believes the marked improvement in her son’s asthma is due in part to reduced traffic on the A20, which is normally gridlocked with vehicles, since schools have returned. 

Tim Dexter, Clean Air Lead at Asthma & Lung UK, said: “All kids deserve clean air. ULEZ and Clean Air Zones help. The government must invest in a clean air future for our children’s sake.” 

A report from the charity highlighted that Lewisham has the second highest number of asthmatic children being admitted to hospital in London.

The report added that there is strong evidence which suggests higher air pollution is linked to worsening asthma symptoms which is putting the lung health of young Londoners at risk.

Cllr Louise Krupski, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Action at Lewisham Council, said: “Tackling air pollution is vital for protecting the health of our children, reducing health inequalities and addressing the Climate Emergency.

“Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand ULEZ across the whole of London will play a vital role in improving air quality in Lewisham.

“We are continuing to take bold action as a council to reduce air pollution in the borough.

“We are restricting traffic around schools at drop-off and pick-up times, planting hundreds of new street trees, installing more cycle hangars and EV charging points and supporting a shift away from car use through our Sustainable Streets programme.”

Since ULEZ was first introduced in 2019, air pollution in central London has dropped by 40%.

It is hoped that with the most recent expansion, air quality will also improve across Greater London.

Featured image: Matt Brown via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 licence

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