Wandsworth Citizens’ Assembly on Air Quality

At the beginning of 2023 Shared Future was involved in designing and facilitating the London Borough of Wandsworth’s Citizen Assembly on Air Quality. The Assembly was the fruition of the new administration’s manifesto pledges to hold a Citizens Assembly, to review its Air Quality Action Plan and to set ambitious new targets to clean up the borough’s air.

The co-leads for this project Jenny Willis and Andy Paice have worked since the start of 2023 with the Council to convene an Oversight Panel (of diverse local air quality stakeholders) that has chosen the framework for the assembly and the question it is tasked with answering:

“How can we all tackle poor air quality across Wandsworth in a way that improves our health and addresses climate change?”

Fifty local residents were recruited through a process of stratified random selection by the Sortition Foundation, successfully representing the diversity of the borough’s population. The Assembly was opened on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Councillor Judi Gasser. Since then the participants have shared their knowledge and experience of air quality issues and have listened to a variety of commentators; such as academics, public health officials, council officers, as well as local campaigners and groups of different perspectives.

The Assembly has now completed its four full day Saturday sessions.

Our team of facilitators witnessed a real buzz of enthusiasm and engagement in grappling with the issues, asking penetrating questions and weighing up the pros and cons of a variety of measures. Local residents moved into the final stage of crafting recommendations to tackle the borough’s air pollution.

Over Easter 2023 was a 5 week pause between sessions. In that pause the assembly question was opened up to the whole borough to comment on using ‘Polis‘. This innovative digital democracy platform, which identifies different opinion groups and areas of agreement, is enabling anyone living or working in the borough of Wandsworth to vote on the initial ideas created by the Assembly and suggest new ideas of their own. 

Feedback through Polis, along with all the information the assembly has received and considered so far helped the Assembly members put together their final recommendations to deliver to Wandsworth Council, in its final session on 29th April 2023. The process is now complete.

All the details of the Assembly sessions, the Oversight Panel and the various commentators that have presented can be found on Wandsworth Council’s Citizens’ Assembly webpage

Read the Wandsworth Air Quality Citizens’ Assembly report on our website.