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Action on Air Pollution near Deal schools

Deal Town Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Councillor Mike Eddy, hosted a talk by local activist Christine Oliver at the Town Hall on Tuesday 12 March on the issue of air pollution.

Deal Town Council recently passed a motion to address the issue of engine idling around schools at pick up and drop off times, which contributes to air pollution.

Poor air quality is responsible for approximately 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, with children and older people are especially vulnerable to the negative health impacts, which include asthma, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.

This is an issue in Deal and Dover’s windy corner.

Green Party campaigners carried out air quality monitoring as citizen scientists outside 4 Deal and 4 Dover primary schools in November 2017, and showed the results to Prof Peckham of University of Kent’s Centre for Health Service Studies.

We learnt from Prof Peckham that the maximum levels for nitrogen dioxide is 20 micrograms/m3, the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum levels to avoid harm to health. Two schools in Deal and two schools in Dover indicated higher than these levels.

On 12 March 2019, Deal school leaders and councillors were encouraged to adopt a range of initiatives to help reduce pollution. These included:

  • raising awareness amongst parents and carers
  • ‘green screens’ and ‘living walls’ around schools
  • closing school streets to vehicles at school drop-off times
  • expanding the cycle network
  • additional tree and shrub planting in public spaces.

A small action that all drivers can take to improve local air quality is to turn the engine off when stationary – for example when waiting at level crossings.