Limit reached in the shortest number of days so far
In 2014 the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hourly limit value for the whole of 2015 on Putney High Street was breached by 9th January, in 2013 it was breached by 10th but this year the limit has been breached in under a week.
Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said: "Diesel exhaust is largely responsible for the startlingly high levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas, in Putney High Street. After some initial success, the Mayor and Council's interest in the problem has disappeared. Residents and businesses should demand big new measures as the Mayor seems to be using successfully in Marylebone Road."
The question has to be raised - how come the measure appears to be working in Marylebone but not on Putney High Street?
London Assembly Member for Putney told PutneySW15.com:“ "This is a repeat of the situation several years ago when, together with the Council members and officers, I called in TfL Buses for discussions on lowering the pollution levels emitted from their diesel powered buses. Of course Putney High Street is a particularly difficult place – a “canyon” of high buildings through which too little air circulates properly to clear the potential pollution. TfL have now brought in a large number of hybrid and retrofitted cleaner diesel buses as they promised. The next stage will have to be diverting lorries and other polluting vehicles away from the High Street, not an easy task for Council planners.”
Deputy Chairman of the Putney Society, Jonathan Callaway said: “It comes as a great disappointment to learn that Putney High Street’s Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels are already above our annual allowance of 18 ‘exceedences’, or events where the hourly level exceeds EU limits of 200 ug/m3. Within six days of the start of the year we have suffered 21 such events already according to the King’s College monitors (see http://www.londonair.org.uk/). The full year 2014 total was 999. Believe it or not this represents quite an improvement over 2013’s total of 1,580 and 2012’s truly awful total of 2,740, no doubt helped by the closure of Putney Bridge for several weeks. The trend is nevertheless positive and that is largely due to the introduction of cleaner buses following a campaign initiated by the Putney Society and supported by Wandsworth Council.
But the totals still tell us we have a long way to go. Clearly we need rapid improvements in emission levels from traffic of all sorts but most especially diesel vehicles. Only urgent and much more robust action at government or mayoral level can enforce the changes we need – our Council plans to introduce improved delivery lorry times to reduce congestion at peak times, but this alone will not be enough. The Putney Society continues to discuss further measures with the Council and recently wrote to seek confirmation that new property developments on the High Street will not be allowed to worsen the canyon effect which is a contributory cause of the problem.”
Last year, the road was branded the worst in Europe for road pollution by a manager at Transport for London responsible for monitoring air quality. Wandsworth Council at that time said the main cause of pollution was buses, and has called on TFL to introduce ultra low emission vehicles.
We have asked MP Justine Greening & Wandsworth Council to comment and will add their responses as soon as they are available.
January 9, 2015