Following new low emission proposals published by the EU in 2016, the ClientEarth group of lawyers forced the Conservative government to publish proposals to tackle the toxic air crisis. The government published it’s response in May 2017: ‘‘Consultation on Reducing Nitrogen Dioxide in our Towns and Cities’
The Conservative Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said in June 2017, when speaking at a National Farmers’ Union event in Parliament, said it was ‘vitally important’ to tackle the UK’s poor air quality, which is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths every year.
It seems that at last the government have recognised the air pollution threat and their consultation report shows that almost 75% of air pollution comes from roadside and background road pollution, – see the diagram below. Sadly, the government have proposed no timetable for new legislation on this matter or put forward any funding plan to tackle the problem. The government suggested in their report that the problem should be dealt with by local councils. That’s all very well, but they mentioned nothing about financial support for a clean air programme! On behalf of the people in the Lewes district and especially residents, school children and old people in my council ward, I responded to the government’s consultation. Here is a summary of my submission:
- Where is the strategy (& funding) for controlling air pollution in the future?
- Clean Air Zones – lack of Government Financial/Technical Support
- Reducing vehicle pollution – it’s no good passing the buck to local councils!
- Government already has Defra & the Environment Agency to develop strategies & policies!
- Government already has the power to reduce the impact of air pollution of new housing developments!
- Scrappage & retrofit schemes – government must bite the bullet!
- Government action is needed to resolve air pollution in the Lewes District.
I also put forward two proposals covering:
- Action Teams
- Information for consumers & drivers
As you will see from the diagram below, most air pollution comes from diesel cars, buses and lorries. Obviously I’m particularly concerned for pollution hotspots in Lewes district, including:
Lewes town – A26 through the Cuilfail tunnel and Malling Street – Newhaven town – A259 between Peacehaven towards Brighton and….
In my council ward, which includes:
- A27 – I suspect pollution levels are high at the Ashcombe roundabout at peak times and:
- At peak times/ school times outside places like Iford & Kingston School
- Wellgreen Lane at the junction with the C7
- Between Piddinghoe & Newhaven during the late afternoon peak period.
Unfortunately there aren’t any NOx (nitrogen oxides) monitoring points in these places. I’ve asked the district council for a list of NOx monitoring locations. Also I’m hoping to get the co-operation of both the district council and parish councils in getting more NOx monitoring points installed. They are not expensive but to get detailed figures you need to regularly take readings. Sadly there is no government support to fund staff costs to take readings. That has to be done either by the district council, town or parish council. Finding the best locations for NOx monitoring could be done with the help of volunteers using portable devices.
As far as the A27 is concerned, Highways England has set aside funds to tackle air pollution near trunk roads. I’m hoping that they will monitor air pollution at Ashcombe and Southerham roundabouts where there is heavy traffic most days.
In response to the the EU proposals, ClientEarth’s campaign and public’s comments the government have published their proposals. Click here to view them. You will see that the figures look pretty good but behind most of the funds that they mention there is EU funding which as we know will cease in the next few years because of Brexit!
Can you help me in my campaign to improve the air quality locally? If so call or text me on (07788) 720929 or click here to email me.