Best Community Campaign

Mums for Lungs

Something felt wrong: these big smelly cars so close to tiny kids.

The Campaign

Mums for Lungs was founded by Jemima Hartshorn and friends when they were walking the streets of Brixton and South London with their small babies in 2017. Something felt wrong: these big smelly cars so close to tiny kids. 

Reading about air pollution made them realise it has irreversible health impacts on children and othersThey felt that not enough was happening across London and the UK to change this, so they decided to turn anger and anxiety into action and start campaigning. 

Four years later, they are going stronger than everdespite being primarily volunteers juggling day jobs and kidsTheir flagship project is the School Streets campaign to close roads near schools at drop-off and pick-up times. It has already provided thousands of parents with advice on how to campaign and made it into The Times’ Clean Air Manifesto.  

Sponsored by
Sponsored by Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (Need to add in logo) Seek to bring about significant changes in the political system, making it more accountable, democratic and transparent and to rebalance power for the well-being of society.

The Change

Mums for Lungs focuses on campaigning where grassroots parent campaigners can make the biggest difference, by raising awareness of air pollution. They and their network of supporters speak to media and policy makers, organise letters to government and get their hashtag #VoteCleanAir trending. They are asking the Mayor of London to take more action, convincing local councils to dedicate a cabinet member to clean air and taking on businesses involved in lobbying against Clean Air Zones. 

They seek out every opportunity to talk about air pollution, from speaking to local community groups to presenting conferences and webinarsProbably the most nerve-wracking was giving evidence at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee in Parliament, and speaking at COP25. 


The Future

The main ambitions of Mums for Lungs at the moment are convincing the next Mayor of London to step up action to clean up the Red Routes, fighting the Government to implement an effective clean air target in their Environment Bill, the Ultra Low Emissions Zone expansion, getting School Streets delivered across the country, and calling on all policymakers to address wood burning as the major source of particulate matter.  

They are determined to keep going, and invite everyone to join and campaign with them. Thanks to Zoom, they now have members in many more places. They say, ‘campaigning is fulfilling, stressful and fun, and the cause always makes it worthwhile: we want all children to grow up healthily, no matter where they live. 

Who else was involved?

Mums for Lungs is a grassroots network and only works thanks to the efforts of brilliant volunteers, of whom there are too many to name.   

The campaign group has also received invaluable advice and support from people and organisations such as Polly Billington and Jason Torrance from UK100, Andrea Lee and Catherine Maguire at ClientEarth, Rachel Pidgeon and Kate Langford at Impact on Urban Health, Global Action Plan, the team at the European Climate Foundation and many more.