Winchester councillor asks for more action on air quality around city-centre streets

A Winchester city councillor is pressing for more effort to clean up air quality around city centre streets.

Cllr Charles Radcliffe says greater attention should be paid to new international standards produced by the World Health Organization for air pollution from traffic. Currently air quality is measured against the much weaker British Government measures, reports the Hampshire Chronicle.

Cllr Radcliffe says that according to the WHO, levels of nitrogen dioxide and final particle pollution in the one-way system currently average between twice and three times the level deemed safe.

He said: “The potential health impact goes beyond headaches, runny noses, and itchy eyes. There is ample evidence of a link between poor air quality and a range of serious health conditions from chronic lung disease to high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease and childhood development disorders. People with asthma and other respiratory illnesses are especially at risk — as is anyone with a lung infection.

“According to the council’s latest reports, dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter have been recorded in the city centre every month in 2021. Levels of nitrogen dioxide in St George’s Street, for example, have averaged between 25 and 30 micrograms per cubic metre since January — that’s within the ceiling set by the national government but way above the WHO’s newly revised safe limit of 10 micrograms per cubic metre. And those are just the monthly averages; at one stage, levels of nitrogen dioxide reached 112 micrograms per cubic metre — more than ten times the limit set by the WHO.”

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