• Is this a clear case of wealth before health?

    Something I rapidly learnt over the course of 1 year – nothing moves quickly in local government. I have to say though I find the following appalling.

    So I’ve decided, not to celebrate but to commiserate on this Echo News Reportthis Echo News report & this Echo News Report which goes as far back as 1999 that air pollution around Rayleigh was at unsafe limits

    The environmental pressure group (Friends of the Earth) claims the official figures show that despite improvements made by car manufacturers to cut down exhaust emissions, the level of air pollution on the stretch of road will still be above safe limits in 2005. reported the “plan to act over poor air”,

    In 2007 the council responded to the problem with

    Rayleigh councillor Mavis Webster said she would also raise the issue with Essex County Council’s cabinet member for transport, Norman Hume.

    and in 2015 another response from the Tory council

    The annual average level of nitrogen dioxide – a pollutant associated with exhaust emissions – is just over the Government guidelines.

    Mr Gordon said: “Without powers or funding I don’t know what we are expected to do about it. The levels are not dangerous.

    It is not something for people to worry about.”

    Cheryl Roe, district councillor and chairman of the town council’s environment committee, hopes the Rayleigh Area Action Plan, which was submitted to the Government in December, will go some way to alleviating the problem which she says people do worry about.

    She said: “The pollution needs to be looked at. We need to ease the flow of traffic through the town centre and stop people getting stuck for so long.

     

    Still waiting for something to be done? Here we are 18, yes 18 years later – no credible plan in place and still no action from the Tory led council. This should send a clear message to our residents that the health and well being of our residents simply does not matter!

  • A Clean Air Zone for Rayleigh?

    Rayleigh has a cloudy history when it comes to Air Pollution and now the Government has been forced to up the ante to solve the increasing problem with Air Pollution across the UK. Whilst we all probably realise, London suffers with poor air quality, we are in fact (and have been for a long time) facing an illegal limit of NO2 right in our own town. 

    You may have read my previous posts on air pollution or seen our campaign to increase the air quality monitoring across the district. Now, however the UK Government has launched another consultation on how to reduce the pollution in our towns and cities.

    The highlights of the document are the ways in which this could be acheived

    • ​Exploring innovative retrofitting technologies and new fuels;
    • Buying ULEVs and encouraging local transport operators to do the same
    • Encouraging private uptake of ULEVs via ensuring adequate chargepoints
    • Encouraging use of public transport, cycling, walking, park and ride schemes, and car sharing
    • Improving road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow, for example by considering removal of road humps
    • Working with local businesses and neighbouring authorities to ensure a consistent approach
    • Charging certain types of vehicles to enter or move within the zone

    Now I don't have any prior knowledge of what our local council could be doing about our particular problem (as that would be a Tory decision), other than the already published AQAP - but in the Government's consultation it's suggested that charging vehicles to enter a clean air zone (i.e Rayleigh Town Centre) would be the quickest way to get the problem under control.

    On the basis of the failure to act and armed with the knowledge that even OUTSIDE of the AQMA, there are indications from our own sampling that there is more illegal pollution in our town, there is a possibility that we could see a clean air zone set up in Rayleigh with some of the dirtiest polluting vehicles being charged to pass through our town centre.

    Watch this space for future developments or sign up below for future updates!

  • Elections!

    May 4th was a good day for the Tories across the country as we saw a tsunami of Tory wins at County Councils. Essex County Council was no different and our own Lib Dems in Rayleigh saw defeat after much campaigning we just didn’t do enough to persuade voters that we could be the liferaft that saved them from NHS Cuts, Cuts to education, Air Pollution, Pot Holes, Congestion….

    The turnout figures in Rayleigh North and Rayleigh South were 36% and 32% respectively. To give an idea of how the parties each faired here is a breakdown of the percentage share of the vote each party took.