Clean air summit to take place in Leamington next week

A ‘Clean Air Summit’ will take place next week to help tackle the problems of air pollution in Leamington and Warwick.

Organised by MP Matt Western, he hopes the summit will bring together experts and local government leaders after a World Health Organisation report placed Leamington among the 31 most polluted areas in the country, with hotspots often registering the worst air quality in the country.

The event will be held in partnership with the group ‘Clean Air for Leamington’ and representatives from local Labour, Green, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Speaking about the event, Mr Western said: “Everyone deserves to breathe clean air.

“Yet in Warwick and Leamington, we are facing dangerously high levels of air pollution that risk serious, long-term implications to residents’ health.’

He added: ‘Many local authorities across the country are trailblazing fantastic initiatives to tackle air pollution.

The busy junction in Bath Street, Leamington, is a hot spot for poor air quality,

The busy junction in Bath Street, Leamington, is a hot spot for poor air quality,

“Locally, we must ensure that air pollution is now a priority and invest in initiatives that accelerate the transition to clean, carbon-neutral transport.”

The Clean Air Summit’s goal is ‘to bring together local government leaders, public health consultants and air-quality experts, to work collaboratively towards ambitious solutions and overcome barriers to change’.

The summit, which will be hosted at Leamington Town Hall on Friday October 11 from 1.30pm, will be open to the public to observe and to have the opportunity to leave comments.

Tickets are required for entry, which are available online and can be found on Mr Western’s Facebook page.

Warwick District Council’s Air Quality Report for 2018 stated that around 90 per cent of all sites monitored in the district had higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a strong air pollutant, than the previous year.

Measurements were taken in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth.

The report also stated that 18 sites in the district had unsafe levels of NO2. The guideline ‘safe’ amount is 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

However, once the data was corrected to take into account the receptors’ distance from the road, only 14 were still unsafe.

Many of the unsafe sites were in Air Quality Monitoring Areas (AQMAs), which are known to have high levels of pollution and are therefore regularly checked by the council.

Overall, the worst levels of pollution were recorded at Wise Street in Leamington, which had an average of 55.4 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air.

The sites reported as having unsafe levels of pollution were:

Warwick - Pageant House, Jury Street, High Street, Bowling Green Street, Saltisford/Northgate, Coventry Road, St Nicholas Church, Castle Hill.

Leamington - Bath Street, High Street, Spencer Street, Wise Street, Tachbrook Road, Old Warwick Road.