Stuart Jeffery

Breaching air pollution limits

FoE have done a great job collating the annual data from councils on air pollution. Last year my home town of Maidstone was the sixth worst in the country so I was pleased to see that we are no longer in the top ten (Maidstone was 5th worst in 2019) even if we are still the second worst in the South East and 12th worst in the country.

Enough NIMBYism, these figures are dire. This is the top 12:

  1. Chideock Hill, West Dorset 97.7
  2. Station Taxi Rank, Sheffield 91.7
  3. North Street Clock Tower, Brighton 90.8
  4. Neville Street Tunnel, Leeds 88
  5. Strand, City of Westminster 88
  6. Walbrook Wharf, City of London 87
  7. Hickleton opp Fir Tree Close, Doncaster 86
  8. Marylebone Road, City of Westminster 85
  9. Euston Road, London Borough of Camden 82.3
  10. Hickleton, John O’Gaunts, Doncaster 82
  11. Cromwell Rd/ Earls Court Rd, LB Kensington/Chelsea 77.4
  12. Upper Stone St, Maidstone 77.2

Air pollution kills and it shortens lives, 40,000+ of them each year. It is illegal for the government to allow these figures to exceed 40ug/m3 yet ten places are double this and a thousand more exceed it. So where are the prosecutions?

There is so little action.

The move towards electric vehicles will reduce pollution but it will cause other problems. Public transport is off limits to many due to covid, but we need it back in play. Cycling and walking were easy during lockdown but our roads are back to previous traffic flows and back to being unpleasant and dangerous.

Last week’s half hearted announcement of £400m p.a. into cycling and the creating of “Ofcycle” – you never want to ofcycle, it hurts – are a very small step in the right direction but the government are still putting many time this money into roads, supporting fossil fuels and so on.

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