The Conservative Government have been slow to act on pollution. It’s high time they realised that we are storing up problems for tomorrow and there is a desperate need for a new clean air act. Society needs to take it’s responsibility too, we could all do better with trying to protect our environment.
COUNCILS which fail to act on combating excessive levels of pollution are “culpable for the deaths of their citizens”, a Friends of the Earth campaigner says.
Jon Fuller, from South Essex Friends of the Earth said: “Southend Council is badly letting down people in this town by failing to tackle fumes from traffic and from Southend Airport
“Councils which refuse to act are culpable for the death of their citizens.”
Southend, Stanford-le-Hope and Thurrock are highlighted in a World Health Organisation report on the most toxic areas to live in in the UK.
Diesel cars are being blamed for the main cause of pollution which is said to result in 40,000 premature deaths each year.
But Kerry Smith, Basildon councillor responsible for housing, said building more and more homes in already built-up areas was another obstacle when it comes to combating the problem. He said: “The Government has got it completely wrong with its obsession with building all over Basildon’s green belt.
“Removing green open spaces and vegetation is not going to help. Its’s going to reduce life expectancy.
Southend and Rayleigh both have air quality management areas which carry a statutory requirement for the local authority to monitor pollution levels.
Those living in areas with high nitrogen dioxide levels along the A127 near Rayleigh and Southend are in particular danger of suffering the devastating effects of air pollution.
James Newport, Lib Dem councillor for Rochford District Council, said local authorities were not acting swiftly enough to combat such a major issue.
He said: “We have been doing our own independent study into air pollution levels and traffic. Congestion gets worse on a daily basis and contributes to pollution but we haven’t seen any really positive steps in terms of trying to reduce that for some time. I’d like to see Essex County Council promoting electric cars, walking and cycling more. But there is not a single vehicle charging point in Rayleigh.”