In Shepway, (now Folkestone & Hythe District Council) there were 58 deaths due to air pollution in 2010. A total of 565 years were lost. The mean anthropogenic PM2.5 (µg m−3) was 9.2, which is a measure of the air pollution in the area. Data is for 2010, the latest year available. (Source)
In 2015 & Oct/Nov 2016 Client Earth took the Government to court over polluted air in the UK and won both times, so we expect that more than 58 deaths in Shepway could be attributed to air pollution six on.
Across the UK there are Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA’s) Shepway is not one of them, nor is Ashford according to the defra map. However, that said SDC publish Air Quality Reports and the shepway-air-quality-2016 report at page 6 of the pdf states:
“No exceedences of the annual mean objective for NO 2 (Nitrogen Dioxide, which causes repository illnesses) have been recorded in Shepway at any time. In 2015, the majority of monitoring sites recorded a decrease in the annual mean NO 2 concentration compared to 2014. The highest annual mean NO 2 concentration in 2015 was recorded at Blackbull Road with the annual mean concentration of 28.6μg/m 3 well below the AQS objective of 40μg/m 3 .”
The NO 2 levels were measured across 12 areas of our district. These being: Cheriton Place Folkestone, Cheriton Road Folkestone, Coldharbour House, B2067 Lympne, Stone Street Stanford North, Blackbull Road Folkestone, Martello Cottages Hythe, Wear Bay Road, Folkestone, Ashford Road Newingreen, Cherry Garden Avenue Folkestone, Martinfield Cottage Lydd Road, Romney Swann Way Hawkinge, Horn Street, Hythe and as the report states there were no exceedences of the permitted level of NO 2.
It must be remembered that nearly all new diesel cars exceeded official pollution limits in 2016, when it was discovered that BMW, Range Rover, Mercedes, Nissan, Renault and Vauxhall among other manufacturers, cars pumped out at least five times the official limit of NO 2.
Highways England wish to build a Lorry Park the size of Disneyland (California), to prevent Operation Stack. SDC wish to build up to 20,000 more homes across the district. More homes means more cars. More cars means more air pollution. More air pollution means more early deaths.
The Maidstone Green Party measured air pollution and found that the five sites we tested four broke legal limits including and one was more than double. “. Now the irony here is that a sitting Green Party Hythe Town Councillor works in Maidstone and drives to and from work, thus contributes in a very small way to the air pollution in Maidstone. They could leave the car at work and use the train to go back and forth, couldn’t they? A sitting SDC Conservative Cllr who lives only a mile and half from the chamber claims expenses for this very short journey. Other Cllrs could share a car, thus reducing air pollution and expenses charged to the taxpayer, a win-win situation for everyone.
The Shepwayvox team have bought 12 clean air kits and placed them across the district (using bicycles only) and we will be monitoring them and we will bring you the results in the near future.
The air which we breathe matters, we can all play our part to reduce air pollution, as can Highway England and SDC by reducing or eliminating the development across or beautiful and wonderful district. It’s time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians/councillors of all persuasions to take the issue seriously at all levels of Government, so go on write to your Town, District or County Cllrs and ask them to put the issue on the agenda, that way we can all breathe a little easier.