Thursday, 21 July 2011

Air pollution is above EU permitted levels - and getting worse in some areas of Brighton and Hove

21 July 2011. Brighton and Hove City Council today published air quality data that shows pollution is above EU legal levels - and getting worse in some areas of the city, despite efforts to reduce vehicle emissions.

The Council's second Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) (link below) shows average Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentrations were higher in 2010 than in 2008, and higher than 2009 in some streets. Continuous analysers at Preston Park and at Hove Town Hall recorded a small increase in levels during 2010 compared to previous years.

Green Councillor Ian Davey is cabinet member for transport and the public realm. He said: "This report shows how serious the problems with traffic related air pollution are in the city. Far from improving; air quality in some areas are clearly getting worse."

A council spokesperson said that in 2010, NO2 concentrations were above the legal limit, and worst at roadside locations in Central Brighton and Portslade. A similar situation occurs in other cities in Europe with examples of increasing ambient NO2 including Cambridge and Paris. Since 2007 some local road links have shown evidence of a decline in total traffic tallies.
The spokesperson said the increase in ambient NO2 in Brighton & Hove is likely to be due to the following contributory factors:
• An ageing vehicle fleet on the road
• A higher proportion of diesel vehicles that show no real performance improvement in emissions of NO and NO2
• A higher proportion of older petrol vehicles with catalytic converters that perform less well with time
• Higher regional background NO2 across South East England
• Higher domestic and commercial heating demand during the past two winters; 2009/2010 and 2010/11, and consequently a likely higher total emission from wood burning and gas fired central heating systems.

The second Air Quality Action Plan follows a 12-week public consultation and refers to key documents published during the past year.  It includes a comprehensive set of measures and recommendations aimed at improving air quality in Brighton.

Cllr Davey added: "We are delighted that the success of the bid to the government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund has given us £4 million to spend in the Lewes Road corridor which gives us an opportunity to make a quick start in one of the worst affected areas."

Together with external partnership and council funds, plus support from the local community, the Lewes Road Corridor project will be worth approximately £6 million over four years. Work is expected to begin this year.

The spokesperson added: "The council is also linking air quality into the city's Local Transport Plan and has joined with Sussex partners to initiate a low emission strategy pilot to address the problem county-wide. This will promote initiatives such as electric vehicle use and contribute to local planning policies.

"There has been progress in providing travel choice in the city; however a number of other measures require implementation if the EU and English limits for Nitrogen Dioxide are to be met."

Click here for link to: Brighton and Hove City Council Air Quality Action Plan 2011

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