|Putney High Street Breaches Annual Pollution Limits In 8 Days|
Issue has not gone away but appears to be getting worse
Harmful traffic pollution levels on Putney High Street has already breached annual limits eight days into January. Last year it took nine days & in 2013 it took ten days!
Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide - a gas linked to asthma and other serious respiratory problems - are not supposed to go above 200 ug/m3 on more than 18 occasions a year under Government clean air targets.
NO2 levels in Putney High Street have fallen from their peak in 2011 and 2012 but remain far too high. We are allowed to exceed the limit 18 times a year; last year we did so on 1,329 occasions.
We should however note that while Putney High Street is the first to breach its annual limit many other main roads across London will be doing the same thing right now. It is not just our problem but a city-wide issue. As a reminder NO2 is noxious and prolonged exposure causes damage to lungs and heart functions, especially in the very young, the frail and the elderly.
The new ban on daytime lorry deliveries in the High Street, due to be imposed by the Council, is welcomed as it should ease traffic flow at busy times. However, we believe more can be done at Mayoral level where the planned ULEZ should be tightened up and expanded in area to include pollution hotspots such as our High Street. More and more people believe diesels will have to be banned, or at least made less economically attractive to run, and we are very sympathetic to that. We also believe more could be done to improve bus emissions and that ultimately only electric or hydrogen powered buses will be acceptable.
The Putney Society is planning another “Citizen Science” exercise in the near future to measure NO2 levels in central Putney. We hope this will highlight the extent of the problem on major roads other than the High Street and add weight to our arguments for more radical action from Mayoral candidates. We haven’t finalised planning yet but we will need volunteers to help us set up the diffusion tubes at the chosen sites (they are like small test tubes) and collect them a month later. Anyone interested in helping us can contact us via our website www.putneysociety.org.uk
On the Clean Air in London webite, Simon Birkett, Founder and Director said:
“Worse, several air pollution monitors have been vying for the dubious honour of recording the first officially monitored breach of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limit in the world in 2016. Oxford Street would have been first again if it hadn’t been ‘offline’ since last Sunday afternoon – possibly due to vandalism of the scientific equipment.
“Boris has still not produced any official monitor from anywhere in the world that reports worse results than London and – even if he did – scientists say London will tend to have the highest NO2 concentrations in the world because of its diesel pollution.
“This shocking start to the 60th anniversary year of the world’s first Clean Air Act in 1956, illustrates the scale of Boris’ failure to reduce diesel fumes, which are the main source of NO2 at street-level, and protect hundreds of thousands of people on our busiest shopping streets.
“With Boris already irrelevant, Clean Air in London demands ‘bankable’ promises from all the Mayoral candidates to ban carcinogenic diesel exhaust from the most polluted places by 2020, as we banned coal burning so successfully 60 years ago, with an intermediate step by 2018. They must stop fobbing us off with bland statements and ignoring this issue that effects the health of every Londoner. Only George Galloway and Sian Berry from the main parties have promised so far to lead a Clean Air Revolution, if elected.
“Put simply, diesel exhaust is the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death.”
One of its environmental lawyers Alan Andrews told teh Evening Standard:
"Five years on the Government has still not got a handle on this problem and thousands of people a year are dying in London alone.
“In the coming months, we will take the Government back to court. In the meantime we need to hear from all mayoral candidates about how they are going to solve this public health crisis. Warm words and empty rhetoric won’t save lives.”
January 9, 2016January 9, 2016January 9, 2016