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Let’s work together for better air quality in the Dover District

In November 2017, our Dover and Deal Green Party campaigners put up air quality monitors outside four primary schools in Deal and five primary schools in Dover. Then they took the nitrogen dioxide results to the professionals at Dover District Council (DDC).

“We are very aware that deaths attributable to air pollution in the UK, at 8% of the annual death rate, are higher than in neighbouring countries, it is an issue that we need to work on together.” Commented campaigner Liz Hayes.

The campaigners had a very constructive meeting at Whitfield on 18 December. The DDC environmental protection team keep careful records of the two Air Quality Management Areas in Dover:

  • along the A20 from Aycliffe to the Gateway
  • and outside the old Town Hall.

Both areas continue to show levels that breach legal limits.

The DDC team are preparing to consult and draw up a new action plan to improve air quality in Dover in early 2018. Details will soon be available on how local groups such as  local Green Party campaigners can participate in the consultation.

On behalf of the local Green Party, Sarah Gleave / Christine Oliver / Liz Hayes said,

“Our one-off sampling is not the same as longer-term sampling, and none of our readings were above the legal limits, however our highest four readings were above the 20 micrograms /m3 that are the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum levels to avoid harm to health.”

Three of these four higher readings are from primary school streets which are outside the AQMAreas that DDC monitor.  Our four highest readings were from:

  • Barton Road, near Charlton and Barton Primary schools, 32micrograms /m3 ;
  • London Road, Sholden, Deal, outside Sholden Primary school, 26micrograms /m3;
  • St David’s Road near Aycliffe Primary school, 22 micrograms /m3
  • Western Road, Deal outside Sandown Primary School, 21 micrograms /m3   

Two of the measures recommended to reduce air pollution caused by traffic:

  • speedy replacement of diesel cars, lorries and buses with better scrappage schemes
  • the introduction of no-idling zones.

In Dover the number of freight vehicles who keep their engines running while stationary, in cold or hot weather adds significantly to air pollution in the town. Also, the lack of good public transport and zero emissions transport options on new out-of-town developments are making pollution levels worse.

Tom Clother, of the local Green Party said,

“The Port of Dover could help by:

  1. making the lorry parks on the port, no-idling zones and
  2. by replacing their commercial fleet with electric vehicles. 

Many private car owners are aware that children’s lungs are particularly vulnerable and switch the ignition off to protect young lungs. 

Many of our supporters are parents of young families and have said they would buy plug-in electric cars if only there were some electric charging points in the District.

Another form of protection for schools with playgrounds on busy roads is to plant street trees as a living barrier.  We’d be very happy to work with community groups and across party lines to lobby for some solid improvements on this issue; prevention is better than cure!”.