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Rosamund Kissi-Debrah

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Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah
Other namesRosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah
Known forActivist against air pollution and awareness about asthma
Political partyGreen Party of England and Wales

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah CBE is a British grassroots campaigner who raises awareness of asthma and the health problems that can be caused by air pollution. Her work followed the death of her nine-year-old daughter, Ella Roberta Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, which was eventually attributed to excessive air pollution from London's South Circular Road.


Kissi-Debrah's campaign for clean air followed the death in 2013 of her nine-year-old daughter, Ella Roberta Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. Ella Roberta had experienced severe asthma attacks over several years,[1] and the 2014 inquest reported only on Ella Roberta's medical care. Kissi-Debrah learned about the adverse health effects of air pollution,[2] and campaigned for air pollution to be included on her child's death certificate. Her campaign led to a second inquest in 2020, where evidence about air pollution was considered,[3][4][5][6] with the Record of Inquest finding: "Died of asthma contributed to by excessive air pollution".[7] The subsequent Report to Prevent Future Deaths[8] identified the South Circular Road, London as the source of pollution. The finding was covered in the media at the time.[9][10] In 2023 Great Ormond Street Hospital started to add average air pollution data for patient's postcodes their files so that this could be considered during diagnosis and treatment, while recognising that it may not be possible for patients to change where they live, work or play. [11] In January 2024, Kissi-Debrah began High Court legal action against three British government departments in an attempt to establish a legal right to clean air.[12][13]

Kissi-Debrah also co-founded the Ella Roberta Family Foundation to promote her goals more widely to the public and officials.[14] This charity aims to improve the lives of children affected by asthma in South East London. It engages with politicians and policy makers as well as young people and communities to raise awareness of asthma, advocate for better medical treatment of asthma and also campaigns for clean air. Kissi-Debrah is the director.[14]

She has worked with the Mayor of London on the Healthy London Partnership and has contributed to expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, now planned for 2023,[15] that aims to reduce air pollution from cars.[1] Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been introduced in London, partly to reduce air pollution. Kissi-Debrah has been drawn into the conflict between the potential for social and environmental benefits but also for damage from the diverted traffic flows. She has advocated for balance in reducing traffic and improving air quality.[16] In a 2020 interview with The Observer, she said: "For people who live in an LTN, yes, life is better, I don't deny that, but their traffic is going somewhere. You cannot live in a neighbourhood where one part has an LTN and children are cycling and playing outside and the roads are safe, then pop along a couple of roads later and there's gridlocked traffic. We cannot live in a society like that."[16]

Kissi-Debrah was a candidate in the 2018 Lewisham East by-election and the 2019 UK general election in the same constituency.[17] She was also a candidate in the 2021 London Assembly election for the Green Party of England and Wales, finishing third in Greenwich and Lewisham.[18][19]

She is a World Health Organization advocate for health and air quality.[1]

Kissi-Debrah was one of the judges in the BLAC (Bright Lights Awards Ceremony) Awards in 2020.[20]

Electoral history[edit]

General election 2019: Lewisham East[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Janet Daby 26,661 59.5 Decrease8.5
Conservative Sam Thurgood 9,653 21.5 Decrease1.5
Liberal Democrats Ade Fatukasi 5,039 11.2 Increase6.8
Green Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah 1,706 3.8 Increase2.1
Brexit Party Wesley Pollard 1,234 2.8 N/A
CPA Maureen Martin 277 0.6 Increase0.1
Independent Mark Barber 152 0.3 N/A
Young People's Richard Galloway 50 0.1 N/A
Independent Roger Mighton 43 0.1 N/A
Majority 17,008 38.0 Decrease6.9
Turnout 44,815 66.0 Decrease3.2
Registered electors 67,857
Labour hold Swing Decrease3.5
2018 Lewisham East by-election[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Janet Daby 11,033 50.2 Decrease17.7
Liberal Democrats Lucy Salek 5,404 24.6 Increase20.2
Conservative Ross Archer 3,161 14.4 Decrease8.6
Green Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah 788 3.6 Increase1.9
Women's Equality Mandu Reid 506 2.3 N/A
UKIP David Kurten 380 1.7 Decrease0.1
For Britain Anne Marie Waters 266 1.2 N/A
CPA Maureen Martin 168 0.8 Increase0.3
Monster Raving Loony Howling Laud Hope 93 0.4 N/A
Democrats and Veterans Massimo DiMambro 67 0.3 N/A
Libertarian Sean Finch 38 0.2 N/A
Access to the Law for All Charles Carey 37 0.2 N/A
Radical Patrick Gray 20 0.1 N/A
Young People's Thomas Hall 18 0.1 N/A
Majority 5,629 25.6 Decrease19.3
Turnout 22,056 33.3 Decrease36.1
Registered electors 66,140
Labour hold Swing Decrease19.0

Personal life[edit]

Kissi-Debrah lives on the South Circular Road in London.[5] She is a secondary school teacher in Lewisham.[17]

Honours and awards[edit]

In November 2020 she was included in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Power list 2020.[1]

Kissi-Debrah was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to public health.[23][24]


  1. ^ a b c d "Woman's Hour Power List 2020: The List". BBC Radio4. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  2. ^ Gardiner, Beth (13 February 2019). "The Mother Who Wants to Put Air Pollution on Her Daughter's Death Certificate". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Ella Kissi-Debrah: Government to be quizzed over 'pollution' death". BBC News. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Inquest examining girl's asthma attack death 'not about blame culture'". ITV News. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b Cockburn, Harry (9 September 2020). "'Watching your child struggling to breathe is horrible': The lives changed by Britain's poisonous air". The Independent. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Ella Kissi-Debrah death: Council 'glacially slow' on pollution". BBC News. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  7. ^ Record of Inquest Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi-Debrah (London Inner South Coroner's court 2020-12-11) ("Died of asthma contributed to by excessive air pollution"), Text.
  8. ^ Barlow, Philip (20 April 2021). "REGULATION 28 REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2023. Died of asthma contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution.
  9. ^ Cockburn, Harry (16 December 2020). "Ella Kissi-Debrah inquest: Coroner says air pollution contributed to death of nine-year-old in landmark ruling". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  10. ^ Reynolds, Emma (16 December 2020). "Air pollution a cause of UK girl's death, finds global landmark ruling". CNN. Warner Bros. Discovery. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  11. ^ Gentleman, Amelia (31 December 2023). "Great Ormond Street to look at home air pollution when diagnosing illnesses". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  12. ^ Warren, Jess (25 January 2024). "Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah: High Court action over girl's pollution death". BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  13. ^ Gentleman, Amelia (25 January 2024). "Mother of girl whose death was linked to air pollution sues UK government". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  14. ^ a b "The Ella Roberta Family Foundation". Ella Roberta Family Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  15. ^ "ULEZ: Ultra Low Emissions Zone to cover all of London". BBC News. 25 November 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  16. ^ a b Lewis, Tim (1 November 2020). "Car-free neighbourhoods: the unlikely new frontline in the culture wars". The Observer. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah to run for the Green Party in Lewisham East by-election". Green Party. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  18. ^ "London elections 2020 - Green Party mayoral hopefuls announced". BBC News. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Mayor of London and London Assembly election results 2021". London Elects. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Bright Lights Awards Ceremony". BLAC. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Lewisham East parliamentary constituency 2019 election result". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Lewisham East constituency by-election on 14 June 2018". Lewisham London Borough Council. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  23. ^ "No. 63918". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2022. p. N9.
  24. ^ "New Year Honours 2023: Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah made CBE". BBC News. 30 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.