Pol­lu­tion lev­els ‘dou­ble the EU lim­its’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

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

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