The RBK Citizens’ Assembly on Air Quality brought together 38 randomly selected residents from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames for two weekends during November and December 2019.
The citizens’ assembly was set the task to develop recommendations in response to the question:
How do we collectively improve air quality in the borough?
Across the two weekends, the citizens’ assembly heard a range of evidence relating to the impact of air pollution and different possible solutions for tackling it. Having considered the issue, the citizens’ assembly developed five recommendations for improving air quality in the borough, each with a series of detailed actions that the council, residents and others should take.
At RBK’s Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee on 25 June, it was agreed to declare a climate emergency in the borough.
According to Climate Mobilization statistics, Kingston is one of more than 900 local governments from 18 countries, which have declared a Climate Emergency. RBK want to take the lead on a local level and set an example for other authorities around the country and beyond to follow.
The Council has said it recognises that the Climate Emergency cannot be solved without the engagement and action of other parties, and is committed to working with residents, communities, businesses and partners to develop this response.
The Council has undertaken a series of actions since the declaration. One of the key actions was to commission Kingston’s first Citizens’ Assembly to focus on air quality.
Report and next steps
A preliminary report was produced and published soon after the end of the last weekend of the Assembly in December 2019 containing a high level overview of the recommendations. This was presented by members of the assembly and Involve to Full Council on Tuesday 17 December, 7.30pm at the Guildhall (see video).
A full report of the citizens' assembly process and recommendations was published in January 2020 and discussed at the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee on 11 February 2020 to determine how they will be taken forward and to inform the review of the Air Quality Action Plan over the coming months.