Every Breath We Take


Updated: 10:15 am 26/06/20

Air pollution does NOT discriminate. We all need to breathe. All lives matter.

Nobody needs to be saying:

“I Can’t Breathe” due to bad air quality.

Four months after calling for the 2019 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) air quality report  to be released,  Folkestone & Hythe District have failed to publish the report which they must do under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. It will soon be time to release the 2020 report as well.

The Cabinet Member responsible for the Environment and the air quality portfolio is Green Cllr, Lelsey Whybrow (pictured).

Screenshot from 2020-06-25 20-25-44

On 5th Nov 2019, Folkestone & Hythe District Council paid Bureau Veritas Uk, £1,680 pounds for the latest 2019 air quality report, which remains unpublished after nearly eight months.

Nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, comes mainly from exhaust emissions from road traffic. As an air pollutant NO2 can aggravate respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

In 2016,  The Department of environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) select committee, made it clear air pollution in the UK was a “public health emergency

In 2017 the Sunday Times investigated air pollution around schools. At that time it mapped Folkestone Academy as having 27µg and they classified it as a “pollution hotspot

In 2018, the µg for Blackbull Road and Cherry Garden Avenue stood at 39.07 and 37.86 respectively.

air quality

Two schools are situated within metres of the council monitoring tubes.

Mundella Primary School on Blackbull Road; which has around 200 pupils, age 5 to 11.

Mundella sits in the Folkestone East Ward who at district level is represented by two Labour Cllrs; Cllr Connor McConville (pictured left) and Cllr Michelle Keutenius (who is also the Mayor of Folkestone) (centre).

Screenshot from 2020-06-25 23-07-26 Screenshot from 2020-06-25 23-04-51 Screenshot from 2020-06-25 23-09-37

The Harvey Grammar School sits in the Broadmead Ward; and at district level the Cllr is Ann Berry (Con), (above right).

The Harvey Grammar  School has around 980 pupils, aged 11 to 18.

So together, a minimum of 1,180 pupils are being potentially exposed to levels of NO2 which may be in excess of the 40µg m³ limit. We just can’t tell, as the 2019, hasn’t been released.

Let’s not forget there are four other sites within the District whose µg is above Folkestone Academy’s 27, which the Times reported on in 2017. These locations can also be considered to be “pollution hotspots

Folkestone & Hythe District have a statutory duty to publish, review and assess the air quality within their area and take account of  Government guidance.

The EU Directive 2008/50/EC, the “Air Quality Directive” on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe sets legally binding standards for ambient air quality (the condition of the air in the outdoor environment). Instead of setting a ceiling for pollutants, it sets limit values for concentrations of them. In the UK that is 40µg/m³ in a district area like ours.

The Air Quality Directive is implemented in the UK through the

In 2018 Client Earth won their case for clean air at the High Court

In 2019 Client Earth won again in the The Court of Justice of the European Union who fully backed citizens’ right to clean air.

We ask the Cabinet portfolio holder for air quality, Cllr Whybrow (Green), why is she failing to ensure the publication of the 2019 report? As a Cllr she is obliged to comply with the law. Air quality is her responsibility, so she ought to be responsible and publish the report… please.

We ask Cllr David Monk (pictured right, with the former Prime Minister Theresa May), Leader of the Council; and the Chief Executive Dr Susan Priest (left), why each of them is failing to comply with the laws as passed by Parliament and enshrined in law.

Lesley-Whybrow-2 Screenshot from 2020-06-25 23-37-57 Screenshot from 2020-06-25 23-39-57

If you live on Blackbull Rd, or near Cherry Garden Avenue, or are a parent, teacher or pupil who attends one of these schools, we would encourage you to write an email, letter, tweet, or facebook message to the alleged “Green Cllr”, Lesley Whybrow, requesting she gets the report released as soon as possible.

It would be a good idea to write to Cllr David Monk, Leader of the Council  and Dr Susan Priest, the Chief Exec of Folkestone & Hythe District Council asking each of them why they are failing to fulfil their legal responsibilities under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. They take the money and forget their responsibilities it appears.

Residents, Parents Teachers and Pupils have a right to know if air quality has exceeded the legal value allowed. They are allowed to know if they live in a toxic hotspot as it could well be damaging their health.

You can write to the:

  • lesley.whybrow@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk – Cabinet Portfolio Holder

  • david.monk@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk  – Leader of the Council

  • susan.priest@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk  – Chief Executive

or the ward Cllrs

Mundella School – Folkestone East Cllrs

  • connor.mcconville@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk  – Labour Group Leader

  •  michelle.keutenius@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk  – Mayor Of Folkestone

Harvey Grammar – Broadmead

  • ann.berry@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk  – Chairwoman Of The Council

Releasing the 2019 report, would go a long way to prove Folkestone & Hythe District Tory led Council, are serious about the “Green Agenda“. It  would demonstrate their walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

Air pollution does NOT discriminate. Every life matters.

Teachers, via their union, residents or parents of pupils, could, if so minded, potentially bring a case of statutory nuisance under s82 of the Environmental Act 1990 against Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

I can't breathe

All of us have a right to clean air, the law says so, the courts say so, parliament says so too, yet our Cllrs and Chief Exec are failing to abide by these laws and rulings.

With every breathe a pupil, teacher, parent  and resident takes, they deserves it to be a breath of fresh air, not toxic air.

Air pollution does NOT discriminate. We all need to breathe. All lives matter. Nobody needs to be saying: I Can’t Breathe.

Release the 2019 report… please.

The Cabinet Member for the Environment & Air Quality, Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green), has tweeted the following this morning (26/06/20).

Screenshot from 2020-06-26 10-12-21

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is Essential in any Democracy

About shepwayvox (1821 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

1 Comment on Every Breath We Take

  1. A Sellindge Resident // June 26, 2020 at 09:31 // Reply

    Air quality matters, as it can and has blocked developments such as Gladman Developments Ltd, who want to build 55 homes in Sellindge opposite Moorstock Lane.

    See – https://airqualitynews.com/2019/09/13/court-of-appeal-upholds-housing-refusal-on-air-quality-grounds/




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