Haringey Council has been urged to crack down on the causes of air pollution amid fears it is harming the health of the poorest people in the borough.

Councillors and members of the public urged the local authority to encourage people to cut down on their use of cars and take up walking, cycling and public transport at a full council meeting on Tuesday (November 27).

Regular pedestrian days, no-idling zones around schools and rental bikes and scooters were among the ideas put forward by opposition Liberal Democrat councillors during the debate to tackle pollution.

Tottenham resident Deborah, whose eight-year-old son Henry suffers from asthma, urged councillors to encourage people to walk rather than drive.

She pointed out that the NHS chief medical officer said pollution tends to do more harm to people in socially deprived areas.

Mum-of-two Catherine Kenyon, who lives in South Tottenham, said: “I believe air quality is one of the biggest social justice issues facing this borough.”

She added: “It feels like the car is king in Haringey.”

Ms Kenyon called for “safe, protected cycle tracks” so children could get to school and shoppers could reach town centres without using a car.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Muswell Hill Sakina Chenot said that in 2016 monitoring devices across the borough all showed air pollution was above legal limits.

She said hotspots included Tottenham Hale Road, where pollution was two-and-a-half times above the legal limit.

Cllr Chenot said: “As a council group, we have a clear responsibility to see something done about this.

“We need more no-idling zones and electric charging points.

“We need to do a bit more to protect our open spaces.”

Cllr Chenot raised concerns over the North London Waste Plan, which could see a waste facility built at Pinkham Way.

She said the loss of trees at the site could worsen the borough’s air quality.

Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison, Liberal Democrat member for Crouch End, said: “To tackle the air pollution crisis, the number one action we can take is to remove cars from our roads.”

Labour councillors also expressed concerns about the impact of air pollution – and Cllr Kirsten Hearn, cabinet member for environment and Labour member for Stroud Green, insisted the council was taking action.

She said the local authority was planning to introduce more no-idling zones and electric car charging points across the borough.

Cllr Hearn said the council will also build more cycle paths and is launching a draft air quality strategy next year.

She said: “We have heard how air pollution affects children, makes people ill, reduces life expectancy, independence and the ability to live a healthy life.

“Pollution is a human rights issue, and we should treat it like that.

“Let’s work together to make this a really clean, beautiful borough.”