Pollution levels ‘double the EU limits’
SOME parts of Hillingdon are double the European Union’s limits on air pollution, the local Green Party group has found.
Hillingdon Green Party carried out four weeks of measurements across the borough and found that 16 of the 18 locations it tests breached the legal EU limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre.
The entrance to Uxbridge College, in Park Road, recorded twice the level allowed by EU law, with 80 micrograms per cubic meter, while Bucks University, in Oxford Road, was found to be even worse at 121 micrograms.
Hillingdon Green Party’s transport and planning officer John Bowman said: “We put the diffusion tubes in a range of places we thought would be a mixture of good and bad but the results are far worse than we anticipated. It’s really scary.”
The tests were carried out across Hillingdon during a four-week period starting on November 20 2016.
Other areas the party found breaching EU law include Cowley St Laurence Primary School, in Worcester Road, Whitehall School, in Cowley Road, and St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School, in Nursery Waye.
The only two areas recorded by the group that did not exceed the legal limits are Little Britain Lake, which recorded 37 micrograms, and Denham Country Park, which was 27.
Hillingdon Green Party used diffusion tubes which are used for measuring nitrogen dioxide levels and are useful for giving an indication of longer-term average levels and also for highlighting areas with high nitrogen dioxide concentrations.
According to Public Health England (PHE), nitrogen dioxide can shorten life expectancy, increase the prevalence of asthma and other respiratory problems, and affect lung function.
However, PHE added that studies have been unclear on whether these health impacts have been directly caused by nitrogen dioxide, or by other pollutants from the same sources, such as traffic.
Sarah Green, who runs a canal cruise business along the Grand Union Canal, called Arthur Daily Trips, said: “It would be madness to allow thousands of trees in Denham Country Park, and around HOAC, Savay and Broadwater lakes, to be chopped down for HS2 when the Hillingdon population is exposed to such harmful levels of polluted air.
“Areas of mature trees around water bodies recharge fresh air and make people feel better.
“You can actually taste the difference in air quality. This is only one of the many reasons that the priority now must be environmental protection.”
POLLUTION TESTS: Green Party leader Natalie Bennett (left) with Sarah Green