With the Royal College of Physicians estimating 40,000 deaths per annum are attributable to air pollution, the Green Party takes the issue seriously. Here are some of the issues we face in Rugby and why the forthcoming Air Quality Status Report is vital
Last week the BBC reported on an investigation into Cheshire East Council’s air quality monitoring reports. Apparently the anomalies were unlikely to be ‘human error’. Although the case is under investigation it highlights the importance of proper air quality monitoring free from vested interests
Rugby Borough Council’s own 2017 Air Quality Status Report is forthcoming and the Green Party await it with interest. It was noted in the 2016 report (view it here) that locations close to major road junctions and traffic lights experience higher than the recommended safe limit for Nitrogen Dioxide levels This is set at 40 microgrammes/cubic metre (μg/m3 ) per annum. The Council itself notes ‘areas of concern’ being the Warwick Street gyratory system and surrounding approach roads, Newbold Road, Corporation Street and the crossroads at the A426 / B4429 in Dunchurch. The area outside of the Dun Cow, for example registers 46.8 μg/m3 annually and Lawrence Sheriff Street 46.5 or 46.6 μg/m3 depending on location.
Despite efforts, Nitrogen Dioxide is proving difficult to reduce. The Green Party takes issue with Warwickshire County Council’s failure to provide funds for the Promoting Travel Alternatives initiative. With the acknowledged inpact on health caused by traffic pollution such action is short sighted even in a time of austerity.
The issue of pollution is also significant around schools with traffic congestion already bad around the dropoff points. The situation at Long Lawford Primary, for example, is already causing concern and will get worse with expansion. Likewise the disatrous Local Development Plan will only make the situation much worse. It was noted at the Special Council meeting on 21st June to approve the plan that Councillors had only FOUR DAYS to read and digest a lengthy and complex traffic flow impact assessment from proposed new developments, especially the one at Lodge Farm. The absurdity of major expansion to the south of Rugby while most of the employment, retail and entertainment favilities are to the north of the town will have a serious detrimental effect on the environment of the town centre. This is in addition to increased traffic accessing services such as the railway station located close to the town centre itself.
With an estimated 40,000 deaths a year attributable to air pollution it is now a major issue and one which epecially affects Rugby. Find out more in the official report from the Royal College of Physicians