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Euston air monitoring sought during HS2 development

Camden councillor also “concernedâ€? at Defra’s proposals to remove certain local air quality monitoring requirements

A Camden council motion has criticised Defra’s proposals to reduce local authority air quality monitoring requirements and called for additional monitoring around the area earmarked for Euston’s proposed HS2 train station.

Due to go before a full meeting of the borough council this evening (January 19), the motion notes the various health impacts of air pollution in the capital and expresses “concernâ€? at Defra’s proposals to streamline the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) system in England, which would see councils having to produce just one air quality improvement status report each year.

Euston Station

Government proposals would see an HS2 terminus constructed next to Euston Station

A consultation on Defra’s LAQM proposals – part of the government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ – closes on January 30 (see airqualitynews.com story), but the motion argues that the proposal “itself admits that local pollution hotspots are likely to be left out of replacement national monitoringâ€? and calls on the council to respond to the Defra consultation.

Defra currently supports 273 air pollution monitoring sites nationally, including at Russell Square, Bloomsbury and partial funding of Camden’s Swiss Cottage site. Camden council also measures particulate matter at Euston Road and Shaftesbury Avenue.

Camden council currently regularly measures average nitrogen dioxide levels at a further 12 locations across the borough, all of which exceeded the national objective of 40ugm3 (microgrammes per cubic metre) in 2013, except Frognal.

The sites with the highest levels of NO2 in Camden are on Euston Road, Tottenham Court Road and Finchley Road.

Proposed by the council’s only Lib Dem member Flick Rea and supported by Green Party councillor Sian Berry, the motion states: “We believe that the more we know about the air we breathe, the more we will do to improve it, and therefore call on the leader of the council and the cabinet to respond to Defra’s consultation by the deadline urging the retention of consistent requirements for local authorities to monitor air pollution and to pledge that local air pollution monitoring throughout our borough will be maintained at least at its current level.â€?

HS2

In addition, the motion also expresses concern at the impact on local air quality of the government’s proposed High Speed (HS2) rail plans to link London with the north of England, which would see a terminus constructed in Euston.

According to the motion, the councillors are “particularly concerned about the cumulative effect on residents living near HS2’s prospective massive construction site around Eustonâ€?, and they urge that the council also set up automatic monitoring of “gas and particulatesâ€? in both Eversholt Street and Hampstead Road.

The motion states: “This must be done soon so that residents with health concerns have at least a year of baseline evidence prior to construction, rather than their current unsatisfactory need to rely on modelling from monitoring stations well out of area.â€?

Camden councillors will vote on the proposed motion at a meeting this evening (January 19).

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