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Green Party hits out at Defra pollution proposals

Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party critical of Defra air monitoring plans as consultation on proposal draws to a close

The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party has criticised plans put forward by Defra to scrap requirements for local authorities in England to regularly monitor air quality, which it claims would result in the closure of 600 monitoring sites nationwide.

The comments come as the government’s consultation on its proposals to remove obligations for councils in England to monitor local air quality after declaring an Air Quality Management Area draws to a conclusion- with the final deadline for responses tomorrow (August 30).

More than 70 motorists in Wandsworth received free exhaust emissions tests from the borough council

The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party claims that the government’s plans could close down 600 air quality monitoring sites nationwide

The proposals concern regulations in the Environment Act 1995, which established the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) system under which all local authorities are required to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas against national objectives for several air pollutants.

Last month, Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party gathered on the Woodford High Road bridge over the A406 to raise public awareness of soaring pollution levels in the area.

The group claims that the A406 is one of the top three worst polluted roads in London, with the stretch between Charlie Brown’s and the Waterworks interchange reputedly the most polluted area in Redbridge.

Pollutants

The section of the A406 which passes through Waltham Forest ranks highest for four of the five most dangerous air pollutants, which include benzene, nitrogen oxides and particles of unburned carbon.

Local air quality is monitored by a box near the steps down to the A406, in nearby Lincoln Road. Under Defra proposals, the group claims that the box could be permanently removed and with it the potential for gaining crucial scientific information.

Rosemary Warrington of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, said: ”At a time when air pollution is one of the largest and most widespread of the country’s public health problems, it seems insane to be removing the power from local authorities to measure it scientifically.”

Defra’s consultation is principally aimed at air quality practitioners in England and runs until August 30 2013, after which Defra will hold a workshop to gather further evidence and compile a summary of responses online.

Labour MPs were also critical of the proposals, with Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne describing them as an ‘absolute scandal’ (see AirQualityNews.com story).

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