Brent Council has a “moral obligation” to do more on improving air quality in the borough, according to the chairman of a landmark report on the issue.

Cllr Tom Stephens presented a task report covering pollution in Brent at a council cabinet meeting on Tuesday (January 14).

He said poor air quality is the “greatest threat to public health in the UK” and that it must be tackled head on sooner rather than later.

“We talk about the risks of smoking, alcohol and obesity, but we talk very little about air pollution,” he said.

“It’s been vastly neglected for years and, only now, are we looking at redressing that imbalance.”

The report put forward ten recommendations that will set about addressing the state of the borough’s air quality.

They included working with partner organisations such as Transport for London and the Football Association to reduce car usage, particularly on event days in Wembley.

The report also urged the council to connect with residents when it comes to improving the borough’s environment by promoting “healthy streets” and encouraging sustainable living.

It called for greater scrutiny when it comes to the impact of planning decisions on air quality and said there should be a focus on pollution around schools.

Cllr Stephens said he hopes to see a “dedicated team” work on reducing air pollution in Brent, despite “challenging cuts”, particularly considering the council’s recently declared climate emergency.

“It’s not enough to just meet EU limits on air quality, we should follow other local authorities and accept the World Health Organisation guidelines,” he said.

“We might meet our legal obligations, but it doesn’t meet our moral obligations to the citizens we represent.”

Several cabinet councillors expressed their admiration for the report, with Cllr Krupa Sheth, responsible for the environment at Brent Council, describing it as a “priority for this administration”.

Leader of the council Cllr Muhammed Butt said the quality of the air in Brent is as “important as the water coming out of our taps”.

But Cllr Neil Nerva, who took part in the inquiry, said it was vital that these recommendations were acted upon rather than simply noted.

This was supported by Mark Falcon, chairman of Clean Air for Brent, who pointed out that a “lack of awareness” of poor air quality was the biggest challenge facing the council.