Press release: Hastings residents demand action on air pollution

December 6, 2016 by combehavendefenders

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Local residents and ‘petition’ outside Town Hall

Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Tuesday 6 December
Contact 07565 967 250

Photo available: Local residents and ‘petition’ outside Hastings Town Hall http://tinyurl.com/htg8nrf

HASTINGS RESIDENTS DEMAND ACTION ON AIR POLLUTION
Call for moratorium on Queensway Gateway Road as monitoring indicates illegal levels of gas linked with asthma and heart disease

Over eighty local residents have sent a petition, written on protective masks, to Hastings Borough Council (HBC), demanding action on air pollution. The petition was handed in to the council on Tuesday 6 December.

The petition – addressed to council leader Peter Chowney – calls on HBC to take steps to monitor air pollution around the site of the proposed Queensway Gateway road (QGR) and to call a halt to road construction until a clear picture of current pollution levels is obtained.

Monitoring carried out near the route of the QGR by local group Combe Haven Defenders [1] shows serious cause for concern over nitrogen dioxide pollution, with diffusion tube monitoring showing a serious breach of lawful levels over four separate months [2]. According to the planning application for the QGR, the road would bring approximately 10,000 extra vehicles a day past the monitoring point [3].

A recent report from the Royal College of Physicians [4] estimates that around 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are attributable to the effects of outdoor air pollution, most of it coming from vehicle emissions. According to the report, ‘[Air pollution] has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia’.

Spokesperson for Combe Haven Defenders, Emily Johns, said, ‘Our monitoring suggests that there is already a serious problem with air pollution around the route of the Queensway Gateway road. This can only be exacerbated by the predicted huge increase in traffic when the road opens. Air pollution is a public health emergency, and we are calling on the council to take immediate steps not only to monitor the situation, but to put a moratorium on further construction work for the QGR whilst this monitoring is carried out. The residents of Hastings have a right to breathe clean air, and building a new road when there would appear to be a serious problem with air pollution already, is only going to make matters much worse.’

Contact 07565 967 250

NOTES
[1] http://www.combehavendefenders.org.uk
[
2] The first four months of monitoring showed nitrogen dioxide levels of 48.4, 47.9, 50.6 and 47.6 μg/m3. respectively. The EU limit value is 40μg/m3.. Although it is acknowledged that further monitoring is needed for a complete picture, these very high levels show there is cause for serious concern over pre-existing air pollution in the area.

[3] https://combehavendefenders.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/new-transport-assessment.pdf – see table 8.7, predictions for vehicle numbers between Junction Road and QGW, 2014 base compared to 2016 DS (‘do something’) scenario, with Maplehurst Road closed. The following table shows an even higher level of traffic by 2028

[4] ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’ https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

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