Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Appalling 40% increase in air pollution under previous Conservative administration" slammed by Green councillors in Brighton and Hove

26 July 2011. Earlier today, the Green Group of Councillors in Brighton & Hove's City Council criticised the "appalling 40% increase in air pollution under previous Conservative Administration".

Green Councillor Ian Davey said: "New figures show a serious deterioration in air quality over the four years of the previous Conservative administration."

A spokesperson for the Green Group of Councillors said air quality figures for 2010 released last week, showed that parts of Lewes Road saw air pollution levels rise by 40% in the four years to 2010. The figures were released in Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) Air Quality Action Plan 2011.

Cllr Davey is Cabinet member for Transport & Public Realm in Brighton & Hove since he was appointed under the Green-led administration which came to power following local elections on 5 May 2011.

Cllr Davey said: “Air quality is incredibly important for residents’ health. You don’t need to be a scientist to work out that these figures are appalling. When I raised concerns over deteriorating air quality over the last four years, the Tories accused me of being alarmist while claiming that air quality was improving.

“These figures show how irresponsible and complacent their attitude was. Rather than dealing with the problem they preferred the easy option of ignoring it.

During the period of Conservative administration of the council (2007 - 2011), several important components of the city's Local Transport Plan, made in the year 2000, were cancelled. These included the Old Shoreham Road Cycle Lane scheme (backbone of the proposed cycle network) and the Bus Rapid Transport Scheme which would have had high impact on reducing car use. The minority Tory administration even attempted to "repeal" the council's commitment to sustainable transport, saying it "unfairly penalised" the car driver.

The public reacted against Conservative attempts to dismantle cycle lanes in Hove in February this year. In local elections on 5 May, Conservatives lost almost 12 of their 25 seats on the council - and the Greens became the new leaders of the council.

Today, Cllr Davey said: “The Green administration will not shrink away from showing the leadership necessary to tackle the problem. We are starting with the Lewes Road where we have been successful in winning £4m from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Our immediate efforts will be focused on getting traffic moving to prevent congestion and pollution, while working to offer people a real alternative to using private cars to get in and around the city.”

The £4m bid for the Lewes Road corridor project was made under the Tory administration, but Greens claimed credit for the idea. For more on the Lewes Road Corridor Project click here.

The Conservative councillor who was responsible for Environment was today emailed for comment, but we have not yet had a response.

For analysis of the AQAP 2011 report: click here.

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