Secrecy and zero progress on tackling air quality

Exeter Green Party has said the refusal by the City Council to answer questions about progress on implementing the Air Quality Action Plan, agreed back in November 2018, suggests no progress has been made in cleaning up Exeter’s serious air pollution.

Lynn Wetenhall, prospective Green Councillor for Heavitree, a ward with one of the most polluted corridors in the city, has asked the council about what progress it has made on actions such as a promised consultation in Heavitree on ways to slow down and reduce through traffic in residential roads, scheduled for last year. The Council has refused to provide any information about progress made, instead saying that the Air Quality Action Plan is being revised in light of new strategies including the Exeter Transport Strategy and Sport England Pilot Programme, though work is yet to start on these.

Lynn Wetenhall, who is also Exeter Green Party’s air quality campaigner, said:

“Why are the City Council refusing to reply to legitimate queries about progress on tackling Exeter’s dangerous air pollution? This secrecy is the opposite of what people want to see, which is clear answers on what actions will be taken, by when, that will make a difference to our dirty air.

The fact that the City Council has been unable to provide any information on progress, which they pledged to provide annually, appraising their progress, suggests that in a year and a half, there has been zero action on tackling this key environmental and health issue. Saying they need to review the Action Plan because of the emergence of new strategies, all of which stress the need to reduce traffic levels in Exeter and help people leave their cars at home, is being used as a tactic to kick this serious problem into the long grass. Meanwhile people in Exeter continue to be forced to breathe toxic air which is impacting on their health and life expectancy.”

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