For Immediate Release
East Dorset Group November 11th 2016
FOE calls for new vigour in tackling local Air Pollution
East Dorset Friends of the Earth today criticised local councils for complacency over the levels of air pollution from traffic. Following the recent defeat of the Government’s plans in the High Court 1, there is likely to be renewed pressure on local councils to meet air quality standards 2, especially for nitrogen oxides and particulates, which are mainly produced by traffic (especially diesels).
EDFOE has recently carried out their own trial pollution measurements at 4 ‘hot-spots in Poole and Bournemouth, finding levels of nitrogen oxide pollution in Poole far higher than UK permitted levels, and higher than levels reported by local councils 3.
East Dorset FoE spokesman Dr. Martin Price says: “Local councils appear to be complacent about pollution levels, and are taking few steps to resolve the problem. Bournemouth Council website contains no information on air pollution levels in the Borough. Reports from Borough of Poole show that levels on major routes are increasing, when plans launched a decade ago promised major reductions 4. ”.
As part of a national campaign by Friends of the Earth5, EDFOE are planning to renew their independent monitoring of nitrogen oxide levels in both boroughs, and hope to launch a full campaign in 2017.
For more information contact:
Martin Price 01202 734163
Angela Pooley 07944 657982
Notes to Editors:
- On November 2nd, the environmental law group Client Earth successfully challenged the Government in the High Court over their Action Plan to tackle urban air pollution. Under EU Law, which the Government has pledged to transfer to UK Law after Brexit, pollution from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) should have been cut to acceptable levels by 2015. The UK is already in breach of the Law, having unilaterally extended the date to 2025. Under the Law annual average levels of NO2 should not exceed 40 µg/m3. Air pollution currently costs the economy an estimated £27.5 billions a year and is responsible for some 40,000 premature deaths a year.
- Data is not available for Bournemouth, but Poole has had an Action Plan since 2003. Latest data (2014) shows that, in many of the sites monitored by the Borough, pollution levels are actually rising. These include Ashley Road (Parkstone), Commercial Road (Lower Parkstone), Longfleet Road (near Poole Hospital) and Lindsay Road (Branksome). In two of these – Ashley Road and Commercial Road – NO2 levels still exceed the 40 µg/m3 level.
- EDFOE surveyed 4 sites: Winton Banks and Charminster in Bournemouth, and Ashley Road and Branksome Pottery Junction in Poole in late July and early August 2016. At the Poole sites, levels of 50.15 µg/m3 (Ashley Road) and 54.92 µg/m3 (Branksome) were recorded over a 2 week period.
- In 2003, a Report to Poole Council identified levels of NO2 pollution for several sites, and targets for 2010; the follow up report in 2015 shows actual progress. The data are summarised here:
|Ashley Road Parkstone||42||27||42.16||No improvement|
|Commercial Rd. Parkstone||32 (2001)||24||43.7||Worsening|
|Poole Road Branksome||46||37||35.7||Improving|
|Lindsay Road Branksome||30||21||37.15||Worsening|
|Branksome Pottery||n/a||34.1 actual||37.75||Worsening|
In reality, moniroed pollution levels at the worst sites in Poole are risinf, not falling. While Poole Road appears to be improving, this is probably because drivers are avoiding congestion there, and using Lindsay Road instead, causing levels there to rise.
- Friends of the Earth are calling for immediate measures to be taken to reduce air pollution levels:
- A phase-out of diesel by 2025:.
- Restricting the dirtiest vehicles: Clean Air Zones (CAZ’s) are needed in all the UK’s cities and major towns. Other measures such as banning buses running on diesel power from air pollution hotspots are required.
- Traffic reduction: traffic levels need to be cut, by reducing the need for people to have to travel unnecessarily; by investing in walking, and pedestrianisation schemes; investing safer cycling, and in better and more affordable public transport; plus supporting clean car clubs and freight consolidation; and avoiding traffic-generating developments, such as road building or airport expansion, which worsen the air pollution problem
- Planning to avoid exposure: “New schools, hospitals and care homes must not be built next to air pollution hotspots” and “existing schools next to busy roads should also be fitted with air filtration systems” -according to the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee
- Emergency traffic restrictions: these to be put in place when air pollution is bad – our current option is to restrict people’s behaviour, which isn’t acceptable.