20 August 2018

Exeter Green Party has slammed the Labour-run City Council over complacency and inaction in the face of new evidence the city’s air quality is a serious health risk.

According to government agency, Public Health Devon, 12% of all nitrogen dioxide (NO2) readings in Exeter are illegal, with some sites exceeding the legal limit by nearly 50%. But a further 47% of readings indicate ‘medium’ pollution levels, enough to cause serious health problems. Meanwhile, Public Health Devon have told Exeter Green Party that 39% of Exeter’s population live in areas of medium NO2 pollution.

Air pollution levels are known to particularly affect children and anyone with lung or heart conditions and recent research has revealed that even exposure to low levels of air pollution has a negative impact on the heart.

Commenting on the air quality figures, Green councillor Chris Musgrave said:

“We have seen years of inaction by the Labour-led council over this serious health issue for Exeter. Despite the evidence that over half the population of the city live in areas with high or medium levels of air pollution, the Council continue to mislead residents by saying that air quality in the city is ‘generally good’.

“We were promised an Air Quality Action Plan by Exeter City Council in September, but that promise, along with so many others, has disappeared. There is no clear timetable or effective actions planned to improve our worryingly bad air quality.”

Diana Moore, Green Party candidate in St David’s ward, added:

“Almost all the city’s air pollution is caused by vehicles. Greens want bold action to reduce the congestion responsible for poisoning our air. This must involve the County and City councils working together to transform Exeter into a city where it is safe and easy to walk and cycle; initiate a workplace parking levy – charging large organisations and businesses for the parking spaces they provide – and using the revenue to fund sustainable transport solutions; and limiting or excluding lorries on more roads within the city [1].” 

NOTES

[1] See a full response by Exeter Green Party to the Air Quality Action Plan including a full set of proposals to tackle air pollution.