More Evidence on the Dangers of dirty air

This week we have the results of a number of worrying new studies showing the damaging effects of air pollution. In China researchers found a link between air pollution and huge reductions in intelligence(1). In London children at primary school have been found with worrying levels of particulate matter and new mothers have been found with this same pollutant in their placenta. The last drop of bad news is that if you are over 50 and live in an area with high NOx you have a 40% higher chance of developing dementia.

Mean while the government, along with six other countries,  is about to face yet another challenge in the European Court of Justice for its failure to meet emission targets.

Dirty air kills people and shortens the life of many thousand in the UK and world wide. Why is their no action? The car firms that cheated us about their emissions have not be taken court in this country. They, like the bankers, appear to be untouchable in the UK. ClientEarth has taken the government to court three times and won over its claim that they have failed to bring forward an effective clean air policy.

Want to clean up the air quickly? Don’t drive. Get a bike or go on foot. This weekend we have many cities having CAR FREE days.   It’s all part of World Car-free Day. London will be closing 50 streets to traffic.  Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Oxford, Cambridge and Liverpool will also ban cars from parts of their city centres. Birmingham is however spoiling the party and refuses to join in and will not be closing any streets. But we need more than an occasional gesture towards cleaner air. We need firm action.

In the UK, Greenpeace’s Rosie Rogers said: “Ministers’ apathy on this issue so far has been nothing short of a dereliction of duty. [Environment secretary] Michael Gove should swiftly come up with a clear plan to tackle the diesel vehicles responsible for most roadside toxic pollution and an outright ban on the sale of petrol, diesel cars and vans from 2030.”

We have to get diesels off our roads and get more cycles, electric bikes and cars in their place. It is time to give the alternatives to the internal combustion engine more support.  Its time to make our towns and villages clean safe place where everyone can walk and cycle knowing they will not be put at risk from dirty air and road traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chester & Cheshire West Review of 20 MPH speed zones

Chester and Cheshire West (C&CW) has recently undertaken its first review of the 20 mph Speed Limit Programme.

KEY FACTS

A an overall reduction of 0.4mph in average speed across all schemes after year 1

A 65% reduction in road traffic collisions

A 40% reduction in Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) road traffic collisions

A 69% reduction in Slight road traffic collisions

A total of 15% less vehicles travelling above 25 mph (based on traffic daily flow)

A total of 17% less vehicles travelling above 30 mph (based on traffic daily flow)

14 scheme areas where speed has increased on 20 mph roads

22 scheme areas where speed has decreased on 20 mph roads

A cost saving to the community in road traffic collisions of £2.6m (based  the Department for Transport’s current average cost of a road traffic collision).

Very little complaints from local residents since the 20 mph speed limits were introduced. The few complaints that have been received were predominately why roads within the scheme areas were not included in the 20 mph programme

It should be stressed that data collected after 1 year is weak evidence on such schemes. After 3 years the evidence one way or another will be stronger.

An initial overview is that the picture is positive. The low decease in overall speed (0.4mph) in the Speed Limit zones is very typical. In some zones the reaction of drivers was very encouraging but in other areas it had a negative effect. Changing driver culture is very difficult and takes time.