31 May 2022
Councillor Chris Rigby, one of two Green Councillors for Winton East, and Leader of the Bournemouth Independent & Green Group on BCP Council, has been reported in the Bournemouth Daily Echo responding to reports that nitrogen dioxide levels at several monitoring points in Bournemouth exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) limits.
The Echo reports that Wallisdown Road has a nitrogen dioxide reading of 17.63mcg/m3. The WHO limit is 10mcg/m3. Other sites where the limit is exceeded are Poole Road in Westbourne, Christchurch Road going through Boscombe, and St Paul's Road near Asda in Bournemouth.
Councillor Rigby's full comments were as follows:
"The levels of air pollution across the three towns is concerning, and it's an issue I've been aware of for some time. In 2016 Friends of the Earth were reporting on these problems with their national clean air mapping project. The current BCP Council plans are not good enough to tackle this issue and this can be expanded to a national issue where central government are not doing enough either. PM2.5 and NO2 emissions can cause severe health problems and this is something we should all be concerned with.
"We need strong policies on developing 15-minute neighbourhoods, that is to say that the majority of people's needs are able to be met within a 15-minute walk or cycle from their home, resulting in roads becoming decongested as there is no need to take the car for short journeys. This needs to be in conjunction with a strong backbone of public transport networks allowing people to quick, easy and cheap access to it for longer journeys. This removes the need for the majority of car journeys making those who need to use the roads have quicker and more efficient journeys, a large number of which could be met through car sharing clubs.
"A secondary set of policies on green development including green roofs and walls on new and existing buildings as well as national rewilding projects will help tackle the pollutants already in the air, improving urban air quality by mitigating the particulate matter. This will not only improve our physical health by reducing pollutants but also has been shown to improve our mental health and happiness levels by bringing us all closer to nature.
"The BCP local plan which is still in development needs to focus on these key areas to have any expectation of making a real difference to our air quality over the next few years."