Green Party claim more action needed on air pollution in Warwick district after experiment

The Greens have called for more to be done to tackle pollution
The Greens have called for more to be done to tackle pollution

Warwick district’s Green Party is calling for more to be done to tackle air pollution after an experiment showed certain areas may be breaching safe levels.

The party measured concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant emitted particularly by diesel vehicles, in 10 locations around the district over a two-week period in January.

Two sites on the Parade in Leamington exceeded concentrations of 40 micrograms per cubic metre, the EU’s limit on safe average levels of nitrogen dioxide, while certain sites in Sydenham and Kenilworth came very close.

However, other sites were well under the limit.

Warwick district’s Green Party claimed the results meant Warwick District Council needed to rethink its air quality action plan. The Greens claim the plan focuses too much on Europa Way and not on town centres.

A Green Party spokesman said: “The Council need to develop a wide-ranging action plan which prioritises walking, cycling and public transport for travel to the town centre rather than relying on the narrow focus of widening Europa Way and promotional measures which will do little to address poor air quality and congestion in and around our town centres.”

Members of the Green Party used equipment called diffusion tubes in the 10 locations to measure concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

The site with the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide was outside Tesco in the Parade, which had 54.8 micrograms per cubic metre. A site outside Millets on the other side of the road had 43.8 micrograms per cubic metre.

The data at those two sites showed levels of pollution above the safe limit.

Sites that recorded levels close to the safe limit were Radford Road in Sydenham, which recorded 39.1 micrograms per cubic metre, and outside the Bear and Ragged Staff pub in Kenilworth, where 38.3 was recorded.

Data recorded at other sites was not as high.

The entrance to McDonald’s off Queensway reached 36.4, but the pedestrian crossing near Aldi only recorded 26.2.

Measurements underneath the railway bridges in Bath Street recorded 31.4, and St Anthony’s School in Sydenham reached 24.5.

And levels recorded at the entrance to Talisman square and outside Kenilworth School reached 25.2 and 18.9 respectively.

The district council currently monitors pollution levels at five sites in the district - Old Town in Leamington, Coventry Road and Jury Street in Warwick, and New Street and Warwick Road in Kenilworth.

Its latest Air Quality Action Plan shows three of the five sites' annual pollution levels breached the EU safe limit.

It also states there has been an increase in overall pollution in the district between 2015 and 2016.

To combat this, the council are trying to improve 'key corridors', such as Europa Way, with ideas such as junction improvements, encouraging cycling and giving priority to buses.