Greens slam ‘flawed’ air quality consultation

Henry Stevens
York Green Party campaigner, Henry Stevens

York’s Green Party has criticized the current council consultation on air quality, saying it is skewed and fails to address the urgent need for action on air pollution from traffic.

The consultation survey focuses its questions mainly on wood burning stoves.

Martina Weitsch, vice-chair of York Green Party says “The science shows us that air pollution comes in many forms. Particulates from burning wood are a serious health issue that should be addressed. But the council is failing to focus on the urgent health impacts of concentrations of damaging emissions from traffic in some parts of our city.”

She adds “These concentrations of emissions, in areas where many people including children live, walk and cycle underpin the declaration of the Air Quality Management Area that still covers the inner ring road and much of the city centre, including Gillygate.

“What we need to see is more action on traffic pollution rather than this blatant attempt to deflect attention onto wood burning stoves.”

Henry Stevens, York Greens’ Campaign Organiser and father of a young child adds

“Children are extremely vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are still developing. We need to effectively regulate all forms of pollution but it is children who are closest to pavement height and get the brunt of concentrated traffic emissions from exhausts, tyres and brakes in congested areas. We need to get a grip on this.”

He adds “It is always good to ask people what they think but sometimes this just becomes an excuse for failing to act. We already know that many people in our city suffer health impacts from bad air quality from traffic – their direct experience is supported by the science.

“Rather than a survey that seems bent on demonstrating that York residents misunderstand the causes of bad air quality we need more action. We know that road traffic in York accounts for 50-70% of nitrogen dioxide emissions and up to half of particulates. We need things like action on freight and deliveries, extending our Clean Air Zone, actively enforcing anti-idling policies and reducing traffic levels in key ‘hotspots’.

The ‘consultation‘ is available until Sunday September 3rd.

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