High Street Smashes Annual Limits By 10th Day of 2013

Levels of nitrogen dioxide are ‘off the scale’ in Putney


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Richard Tracey Hails Transport Improvements In Putney

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85% Of Putney High Street Buses Will Be Cleaner By 2013


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Recent calm weather conditions have sent readings of nitrogen dioxide — linked to asthma and lung damage — soaring off the scale in Putney High Street, according to campaigners.

According to the Evening Standard: 'the fumes are so bad that Putney shopkeepers are being advised to keep their doors shut for much of the day to protect customers and staff'.

Concentrations of the gas in the street breached the upper safe limit of 200 micrograms per cubic metre in 72 “bad air” hours this year. The legal annual maximum set by the World Health Organisation and enshrined in law by Brussels and Westminster is 18 hours.

The average NO2 reading is 168 micrograms per cubic metre so far in 2013, compared with a legal limit of 40.

The high readings are a setback for efforts by TfL & Wandsworth council to reduce emissions in Putney.

A council spokesman told PutneySW15.com:
"The council's air quality investigation was a unique piece of research that enabled us to pinpoint local buses as the main source of pollution on this congested road. The data we collected pushed Putney right to the front of the queue for green bus funding and TfL has stared to replace or upgrade the offending vehicles. We will be tracking the impact on pollution levels very closely in the weeks ahead.

They continued:
"But this is not a quick fix for the high street’s air quality problem and work is continuing on several fronts to bring the pollution level down. An engagement programme with local businesses is encouraging a greener approach to goods deliveries and we have secured an expansion of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme to provide a new alternative to car journeys in Putney.

“We’ve also installed new electric vehicle charging points to promote the growth of this zero emission transport option and will continue to promote car sharing schemes which have proved extremely popular right across Wandsworth. The council has also planted new trees along the high street and introduced a new smoke control order to better regulate emissions from homes and businesses. We’re also reworking the road layout in places to remove traffic pinch points.”

Simon Birkett, founder and director of the Clean Air in London campaign, told the Evening Standard:
“Levels of nitrogen dioxide are ‘off the scale’ in Putney and other parts of London. The Mayor must start issuing pollution warnings and banning the oldest diesel vehicles of all sorts.”

Assembly Member Jenny Jones said: “Putney High Street is a disgraceful example of the Government and Mayor’s failure to take responsibility for air pollution. As a result even more people will die prematurely, suffer worse asthma and other respiratory conditions”

“Instead of attempting to delay legal deadlines for nitrogen dioxide, the Mayor has to rewrite his Air Quality Strategy and include effective new measures that can make a big difference to fill the gap.”

Improving Putney High Street - Putney Society Public Meeting
Thursday January 24, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Brewer Building, St Mary’s Church, Putney Bridge SW15 1HL

The Society has been working for some time on a campaign to improve air quality on Putney High Street. Progress has been made with the introduction of new hybrid and other low-emission buses, thanks to the Council’s very positive support, but much more remains to be done.

How can the High Street environment be further improved, not just the air quality but also the street layout? Could further de-cluttering be undertaken? Would widening the pavements for the benefit of pedestrians make the smoother flow of traffic – important in minimising pollution – more difficult? Is there anything to be done about traffic volumes and can the free-for-all of delivery lorries be better managed? Should a 20 mph limit be introduced? Are there other pedestrian and cyclist-friendly measures which could be taken?

Speakers will include David Irwin, a long time Putney resident and Society member and town planner who has developed his own proposal to improve the High Street; Cllr Jonathan Cook, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, and Cllr Russell King, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation, who together will set out the Council’s current approach and plans for the future of our High Street.

Following these talks will be a panel discussion, to include Jon Irwin, Co-Chair of the Wandsworth Environmental Forum.

Come and have your say on how your High Street environment can be further improved.
Open to all members and friends

January 10, 2013

January 10, 2013