Saturday, 5 March 2016

Give us some fresh air

This week my Bedminster campaigning has focussed a lot on air pollution. I've gathered and presented the current  data on it from the Parson Street School pollution monitoring station.

See the comparison with the EU (and World Health Organisation) pollution limit in the graphs. Basically the annual average in Bedminster is double what it should be compared with current health standards.

We all need fresh air and our politics needs a breath of fresh air. Government figures show that 30,000 people die prematurely because of air pollution, including 200 Bristolians, each and every year. Locally the main cause is our heavy road traffic. It's a major public health issue - especially for children and those with existing health problems. I have been campaigning on it for decades (see the Bristol Post news clip from 26 years ago in 1989 at the bottom of this blog entry; also see here where I co-campaigned with Deb Joffe in 2015). 

We now have a 14 strong Green city councillor group who proposed a research and implementation plan for a Clean Air Zone in Bristol this February, funded by taking the already available surplus money raised from parking - but Tory and Labour councillors voted against it. Electing more Green councillors will greatly help to make the council give this long-standing health problem the attention it deserves.
See my recent article on this topic on Bristol 247 here. I've expanded on the wider and more technical aspects of air pollution here on the Sustainable Cities Collective website. The graph (left) shows how air pollution builds up in the Bedminster air and then stays at a high level, mainly due to heavy road traffic. 
In April last year the Supreme Court decided against the government and ruled that an immediate plan was needed as the UK consistently breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2; see graphs above showing the daily and annual air pollution trend in Bedminster now). Environmental law firm Client Earth took the case to court, now say that government plans are inadequate - and may take them back to court  if current policies don't improve (more here).

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