Labour party members have vowed to tackle the issue of Leamington’s poor air quality which exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) pollution safety limits.
The most recent WHO report, released in 2018, highlighted the town’s high concentration of the particularly dangerous fine air pollution PM2.5, which stands at 12 micrograms per cubic metre. This figure is considerably above the WHO’s limit, which stipulates pollution should be at no more than 10 micrograms per cubic metre.
Leamington Labour party members have said: “The high concentration of tall buildings surrounding the main roads in Leamington is one reason for poor air quality as is the sheer amount of traffic including old buses and diesel cars.
“Bath Street, which now has hazardous levels of nitrogen dioxide, is arguably the most historic street in the town .
“Now it is neglected and choked by pollution from the constant stream of traffic, which often stands queuing, making the air quality worse.
“There have been a-number-of schemes proposed to deal with the traffic problem over the years, but none have dealt with the problem permanently.”
Business owner Adrian Gains has been highlighting this problem for some time.
He wrote an article for the Leamington Society in 2015 where he stated ‘Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, York, Lincoln and Salisbury have all protected their historic centres by sensible traffic management. If they can do it, why can’t Leamington?’.
Adrian, who is a former government advisor to the Department for Transport and now the owner of Temperance in Bath Street, said: “The quality of air in the area is absolutely scandalous.
“Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and the very young, are being forced to breath dangerously polluted air and this is causing them serious long-term heath problems.
“Now is the time to take the issue seriously and to consider radical change.
“Change that will benefit local business, local residents and make the area a better place to visit.”
Party members will undertake a consultation in the area around Bath street in the coming weeks. Labour activist, Ali Lush, said: “We are going to consult with businesses and residents and see how they feel and what they would like to see happen.
“We will work with them to tackle this issue, which has gone on long enough.
“I have lived in the area for over 25 years and I have gradually seen traffic increase and good air quality decrease.
“I feel very positive that we can make real improvements if we work together with people and partners in the area.”
Warwick district councillor Kristie Naimo (Labour, Brunswick) said more needs to be done to decrease traffic and increase walking and cycling infrastructure in Leamington.
She added: “We are committed to such outcomes.
“We feel we can make a real difference to people’s lives.’