On Clean Air Day, people are encouraged to walk or cycle to work or school instead of driving, but the fact that many areas in Medway do not meet air quality objectives shows more needs to be done by government and local authorities.
Cllr Andy Stamp, Councillor for Gillingham North and Medway Labour & Co-operative Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture said, ‘UK air pollution levels constitute a public health emergency that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in society such as older people, young children, people with respiratory issues, and those who live in less affluent urban areas.
‘There are steps that individuals can take to reduce air pollution, such as walking or cycling instead of driving, but we really need government to take a more radical approach. At a national level the government’s Clean Air Strategy doesn’t go far enough in tackling illegal air pollution, and devolves too much responsibility to under-resourced local authorities.
‘Major roads are the leading cause of emissions in Medway, so Medway Labour have been campaigning to make public transport more accessible, reliable, and affordable. We have also proposed introducing a publicly-run, not-for-profit bus operator in Medway that meets the needs of passengers, and have been putting pressure on the council to plant significantly more trees across Medway to improve air quality.
‘Across the UK 40,000 deaths have been linked to air pollution, and here in Medway there are at least 125 deaths attributable to pollution every year. The government talks about their commitment to tackling air pollution, but a lack of leadership and decisive action means people are being exposed to increasingly toxic levels of air pollution on a daily basis.’
Air quality in Medway: https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200140/environment/416/air_quality