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Air pollution levels in London and elsewhere in the UK have been alarmingly high since before the weekend. Yesterday central London registered the highest possible alert level: 10: Black. And the extremely high and dangerous levels reached outer London. 8: Red at sites in Enfield - a value associated with central London on particularly bad days.
Pollution peaks in London 23 Jan 2017 recorded by www.londonair.org.uk
(Source: Evening Standard)
Calls for action are growing - yesterday a group of several hundred schoolchildren visited the Mayor of London to lobby him to do something. He claims to be on the case - but there is still no sign of measures like those being taken in Paris, where there have been real cuts in the number of cars allowed into the city on days where pollution is high and the cost of public transport is cut. Paris is also completely phasing out diesel cars.
In the UK diesel cars are still on sale, long after their toxic effects became well known. There is only so much the Mayor can do, of course, a more important target of pressure is the government and the Prime Minister. So if you care about yours and other people's health, sign this petition.
Sign the petition
Early yesterday morning (24/01/17) you could smell the pollution - still air and foggy. Bad for everyone, but I'm a lifelong asthmatic and it hit me hard.
The Government's lack of action is a disgrace; it doesn't even talk about it. Come to that very few parliamentarians talk about it. Clearly new-buy diesel-owning drivers don't think about it either.
To the scary and rapidly growing list of health effects from air pollution may now need to be added pre term births. Pre term births not only contribute to infant mortality, but can have life-long health effects in survivors. Air pollution is a rapidly developing area of scientific research with recently highlighted effects already linking death, stroke, heart attack, asthma and dementia. Some effects are down to toxic gases, others due to airborne micro particulates which pass into the body via the lungs. These particulates were recently shown in UK research to pass through the placenta and from there were linked to impacted babies being born with smaller heads. This latest worldwide study, accepted on 31st January, links the same tiny particles to pre term births.
“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver, Canada. “Reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.“
So what can we all do to help improve the health of our own local population? Active travel (walk or cycle), if not then use public transport and if motorised travel is necessary then try to make sure it’s as clean as possible. As a start, that’s something all of us can surely aspire to.
You read it here first.
Committees launch 'unprecedented' joint inquiry on air pollution. MPs from four parliamentary committees have joined forces to launch a new inquiry to scrutinise Government plans to tackle urban air pollution, including from transport. The Environmental Audit, Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Health, and Transport Committees will hold four evidence sessions to consider the health and environmental impacts of air pollution, in the face of ‘mounting scientific evidence’.
Source: Surveyor Transport Network 20 March 2017
‘We will be asking what more can be done to increase the use of cleaner vehicles as well as to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport.’
Perhaps concluding in part what has been promoted several times on PGC, the last time only last week, ie
"So what can we all do to help improve the health of our own local population? Active travel (walk or cycle), if not then use public transport and if motorised travel is necessary then try to make sure it’s as clean as possible. "
Four parliamentary committees looking to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport - walking and cycling - well, well, well. Who would have thought all the evidence would end up in such a place - again.
Pollution is a real problem in PG area with heavy traffic on the North Circular entering PG and on Green Lanes.
These drivers are all fully aware of the health problems that Air and Noise pollution contributes to our environment and subsequently to our human lives but still they are refusing to change their travelling ways during the day.
Interesting, a great deal of people enthusiastically love to go jogging and they would jog happily for over an hour, many other spent hours in the gym, yet for the same durations the same health conscience people opt to embark on their daily and ordinarily destinations with the use of their cars. (I too love to keep fit, yet very rarely use a car particularly for journeys during the day when I can walk or embark on a bus to my destinations this it because it make no sense to me to keep my self fit and then at the same time unnecessarily pollute the atmosphere in our environment which is known to be detrimental to ones health).
I must mention that ULEZ Is being introduced however, not for a few years to come which does not make sense particularly, from a London Mayor who is suppose to be suffering from Asthma.
Appalling the ULEZ does not seem to be covering any of the areas in Enfield surely the London Mayor is fully aware that our atmosphere is heady with pollution, given the amount of constant heavy vehicles on Green Lanes and the North Circular and yet has chosen to over look this area. It does vex me very much because during the Mayor's Election campaign we were bombarded with leaflets to vote, to exercise our voting rights of course however once the voting was over the London borough of Enfield once again became a non identity as a borough for London.
Yet, I wonder if ULEZ would really do much to improve the pollution in our area as cars seem to be increasing not decreasing on our roads and this is due to the extra dwellings being build.
One very small idea that would reduce a percentage of cars in our local areas is for for the introduction of 'Scheduled' Airport Public Buses, one deck of course. Moreover, all the airport tickets could be pre purchased from the Oyster machines. This would lessen the amount of cars on our roads considerable and many women would feel a lot safer then having to venture into hire a mini cab.
As for National Express coaches they make no general stops, I personally have used these on my return journey and believe me arriving back from holiday feeling exhausted from my travel I literally want to cry as it passes PG and then a member of our family has to come and collect us via Car!
Tere's plenty of pressure on the Mayor, particularly - but by no means exclusively - from Green Party AMs to extend the ULEZ to the M25 and to start it earlier, and there are signs that he is listenng. That would certainly improve Enfield's air quality substantially as it is the diesel buses and lorries that are the worst polluters, though we'd still have to put up with the emissions from cars. Even if it's only out to the North Cirular it should improve things a bit, though obviously not nearly as much as being withinit would.
Bringing the date forward is not simply a question of saying "OK we may as well start next week". There are consultations to be done (and we've all seen what the reaction is when they are not/are perceived not to have been done properly/come up with the "wrong" answer!), affected bodies to be notified, signs to be erected (lots of them, when it's right round the M25 or the Northand South Crcuars), and probably several other things I'm not aware of.
But let's keep up the pressure.
Not too sure that it is generally the case on the roads that lorries and buses are the big contributors to poor air quality. I have heard it said by an expert making a presentation - though three or four years ago now - that lorries and buses have better filters that cars (I think he said because there is more room) such that their emissions are often relatively low. And of course we've all heard that car drivers not infrequently remove, or have removed, their car's filters altogether.
In any case there are more cars and vans on the roads and many manufactures are not installing the best kit available.
Speaking of which 'Which' (The Consumer Association) reports on car emissions in the April edition. It's 'not a pretty sight' generally and Renault, and cars with parts made by Renault, take a beating. There is also a mention of the particles from tyres and brakes, but not a full report. Cars with petrol engines don't get off scot-free especially in respect of particulates, which caught me by surprise.
Merton Council has added to those in London pressing against diesel vehicles. A parking permit levy of £90 will now apply, rising to £150 by 2019. Conversely electric cars will see a reduction to £25pa (from the standard petrol vehicle cost of £65).
The council says that air quality is something everyone should take responsibility for and this was part of an encouragement strategy for people to drive the least polluting vehicle possible. (I had always assumed that was a bicycle?)
They quote London’s 9400 annual deaths and 3400 annual hospital admission linked to air pollution carrying an economic cost of £3,700,000,000. (Calculated by Kings College London.)
More car costs announced: Following the announcement of Mayor Khan’s intent to charge the most polluting vehicles for driving in the capital, some boroughs charging larger / diesel cars extra for parking permits and Waltham Forest charging vehicles left idling outside of schools, we now have Hackney council giving up with apparent road rage, pavement driving and air quality issues outside two of its schools and banning cars altogether. Fines of £130 a time will apply for vehicles using the nearby road at morning and afternoon school open / closing times. The Evening Standard indicates that if popular more schools are likely to follow in that borough and floats an all London potential to get kids walking and cycling to school. The external costs of a car-centric culture in a dense urban environment are really starting to be picked up.
Personally I’m forever struck by the immense change in traffic volumes during school holidays, not only at school start and end times but also throughout the day.