Canterbury 4 Clean Air
Picture provided by Spokes East Kent Cycling Campaign
NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS
On February 14th 2013, Canterbury’s Sustainable Transport Blueprint, by the national expert Lynn Sloman, was launched.
Lynn will be giving presentations on the Blueprint on April 26th. See News Section KECN Homepage for details.
Just in time too with the imminent cancellation of the Westgate Pilot Transport Study end of March. What many people appear to be oblivious to in Canterbury or are too selfish to care, is that Canterbury is chocking under air pollution and to our shame, one of the highest carbon footprints in England (almost 3 and a half planets worth of resources consumed per capita).
Here are some uncomfortable facts for our selfish motorheads from the NICE Public Health Guidance
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommendation for adults’ level of physical activity is a minimum of 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity spread over a week. For children, the target is at least 1 hour of vigorous activity per day. The reality is that objective data reveal that only 5% of adults and 2.5% of children achieve these targets.
The current levels of urban air pollution with its significant associated levels of morbidity and mortality, and of collisions cost society £10 billion a year; road congestion causes delays and costs the economy £11 billion a year.
Increasing the time spent walking or cycling leads to evidence-based health benefits such as: reduction in obesity, stroke, heart attacks, cancer and Type 2 diabetes; healthy musculo-skeletal systems; promotion of mental well-being.
KECN is pleased to be hosting Canterbury 4 Clean Air (C4CA). It is in its early stages and was set up early in 2011 to address Canterbury’s worsening air pollution, congestion and huge carbon footprint. Air pollution legislation has largely been ignored in Canterbury as elsewhere. The legislation is considered toothless. There are duties but no apparent legal consquences if the duties are not met. As a result, air pollution has been getting worse year on year in Canterbury.In 2006, we had two streets that were in breach of air quality limits now we have over 9. This trend will continue unless we force our politicians to take air pollution seriously or we get better legislation with penalties. Canterbury needs a significant reduction in car use if air quality limits are to be met. Cycling and walking should be the first transport choice with the necessary infrastructure implemented. The Tories with their mates at Canterbury 4 Business are busy lobbying away for a further Park and Ride, 5 more slip roads, out of town developments and so on.Clearly, air pollution, climate change and biodiversity mean little to them.
The UK Government and local councils are failing to deliver on sustainable traffic. Research by Halcrow for Friends of the Earth and Sustrans called ‘Moving Towards Smarter Travel?’ shows that the Government and Local Councils are ignoring advice from the Committee on Climate Change to introduce schemes that cut traffic. For more information contact Russell at email@example.com.
Please read C4CA’s recent submission below to Defra regarding Canterbury’s air pollution problems and why C4CA does not think tha Defra’s approach is right in seeking to extend compliance with the law until 2015.
Consultation Response to Defra Notification to EU re: Extension of NO2 Air quality limits from January 2010 to 2015.
Canterbury 4 Clean Air has recently been set up and it is working towards finding practical solutions to reducing air pollution (and the carbon footprint) of the City of Canterbury and the surrounding district. It is not a party political organisation. It consists of individuals who have for many years campaigned on transport, air pollution and climate change issues in the district. Air pollution and climate change are transboundary and therefore our submission concerns the UK as a whole. Canterbury has high levels of air pollution (is in breach of EU NO2 limits) and has one of the highest carbon footprints for a city in the UK.
We object to your proposal to issue a notification to the EU asking that NO2 air quality limits in the UK be extended to 2015. We do not believe that the existing and proposed package(s) of draft air quality plans will achieve compliance with the NO2 limits as quickly as possible or by 2015 in the City of Canterbury or elsewhere. In fact, you admit that your measures will only meet compliance overall by 2025.In Canterbury, you state that it is 2020 but we do not think that this is likely. An extension is likely to lead to further inaction, apathy and delay. Air pollution will continue to worsen and impact adversely on human health and the environment. We would like to remind Defra that the EU has a long history of “inaction” on matters as diverse as reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, on requiring countries to obey auditing procedures on budget overspends, on requiring countries to stick to spending allocations, etc. We feel very certain that if this extra time is granted then this will implement another another case of “rolling inaction”.
We believe that the only way to get the UK to comply with the NO2 as quickly as possible is not by way of requesting an extension to the deadline. It is instead by shifting responsibility for compliance and for the payment of financial penalties for non-compliance onto local authorities. There is such a provision in the Localism Bill. To hold local authorities to account would focus the minds of the decision makers and compel quick and effective action. Measures to reduce air pollution would become more relevant and the policy measures necessary to reduce car use would be more acceptable to the general public. The public, after all would not want to pay higher council taxes as result of its council not meeting NO2 limits.
Nothing of any significance has been introduced by the local authority in Canterbury to meet the air quality limits by 2010. There are no Low Emission Zones, no congestion charging, no 20mph speed limits, comfort zones, shared space etc…Alternative modes of transport like cycling are underfunded, not adequately promoted and the existing infrastructure not fully connected up. Nor has there been any real pressure from you during this period to force Canterbury to implement measures to reduce air pollution.
We see almost no publicity on the matter. We see no urgent campaigns or specially appointed task groups. We see no campaigns to push the health aspects of leaving the car at home. Yet only last year you issued a report (Air Pollution: Action in a Changing Climate) noting that air pollution is costing the country £15 billion per year, and the Environmental Audit Committee have recently said “Air pollution on UK streets is contributing to more deaths than road accidents, passive smoking and obesity put together and the government is not doing enough to tackle the problem.”
So it is not surprising then that air pollution has gotten worse year on year in Canterbury and in other urban areas. For example, the first Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for Broad St./Military Road in Canterbury was designated about 5 years ago, the Council reported that the situation would be resolved by 2008. Not only did this not happen but the situation has severely deteriorated since then with 8 more streets about to be designated as a single large AQMA.
We also believe that your report portrays a very unbalanced summary of the air quality situation prevailing in the UK. The report gives the impression that almost all aspects relating to vehicle emissions have improved over the last decade, even if improvements have slowed up recently and that there are some areas of concern. There is very little mention of the statistics relating to AQMA’s, and the fact that the number of these has continually increased as has the total number of roads being so designated. Indeed almost no AQMA’s have been revoked and the few that have been only achieved this because of incorrections in their original designation. This total lack of improvement must indicate a need for far more urgent and stringent actions.
For the above reasons, we object to your proposal for an extension for meeting NO2 limits to 2015. We do hope you will give our concerns serious consideration.
We look forward to receiving the results from the Consultation and we ask to be kept informed of any future decisions regarding this matter.
On behalf of Canterbury 4 Clean Air