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Traffic pollution monitored outside Supreme Court

Air quality monitoring carried out in front of the Supreme Court in Westminster this week has highlighted the traffic emission problems caused by engine idling, according to Chelmsford-based firm WeCare4Air.

David Mackay (L) of WeCare4Air monitors pollution at the Supreme Court with for Sky News

David Mackay (L) of WeCare4Air monitors pollution at the Supreme Court with for Sky News

Managing director of the company and air quality expert, David Mackay, was invited to carry out the monitoring yesterday (April 29) as the Supreme Court handed down its judgement in a case against the UK government brought by ClientEarth over nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Mr Mackay said he was “delighted with the verdict”, which means Defra must now produce a new air quality plan by the end of 2015 to meet EU objectives for nitrogen dioxide, adding: “The impact of air pollution is not given sufficient attention by the UK Government and the public at large are simply not aware of how serious the implications can be.”

Using an EC Airpointer portable monitor, Mr Mackay said he found an increase in air pollution each time a taxi pulled over near the Supreme Court entrance to drop off a passenger.

And, he said that none of the taxis switched off their engines while doing so, despite some being stationary for “two to three minutes at a time”.

The EC Airpointer analyser monitors pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter PM1, PM2.5, PM4 and PM10.

Mr Mackay said: “Research proves that if your vehicle remains idle for 30 seconds or more you are not only doing serious damage to the environment, you are also doing damage to your vehicle and wasting fuel.

“Every taxi we saw today idled for an average of 90 seconds – there are 25,000 taxis in London and if they all switched their engines off whilst handling fares that would save London over 3,000,000 hours of wasted pollution every year.”

Mr Mackay was invited to the Supreme Court, which is situated opposite the Houses of Parliament, to carry out the monitoring by Sky News, which was covering the judgement, and was interviewed by news presenter Enda Brady.

WeCare4Air works with schools, local authorities and the public to monitor air quality and provide information and advice about air pollution.

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