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Poor air quality damaging childrens health?

Discussion in 'Borough Green' started by Tim Shaw, Sep 17, 2009. Replies: 0 | Views: 1343

  1. Tim Shaw

    Tim Shaw New Member

    Poor air quality damaging childrens health?

    The long hot summer is here and once again there has been a lot of local concern over the very poor air quality regarding our A25 and A20 villages. Sevenoaks has now been designated the poorest district in Kent with regard to air quality. The A20 / A25 villages within Tonbridge and Malling are also deemed as very poor air quality zones. Villages deemed so poor in air quality are labelled Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA's). These areas exceed government pollution levels and are deemed as potentially damaging to people's health.

    In fact children living on heavily trafficked roads such as the A20/A25/A227 are likely to develop chronic respiratory problems. In the long term, there is some evidence that repeated exposure to diesel fumes over a period of 20 years may increase the risk of lung cancer. However, exposure to petrol engine exhaust emissions does not have the same risk according to the Health and Safety Executive 2009. Freight and the diesel it pumps into the atmosphere is stated as the big air polluter enemy number one.

    The A25 villages through Sevenoaks are now so badly polluted that Sevenoaks has been designated one AQMA from Seal Chart to Westerham. The Malling villages are also believed to be extremely polluted but Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have failed to properly measure and manage the overall air quality from Seal Chart to Malling and thus offer no answers as to just how bad the situation actually is. Borough Green is one community within Tonbridge and Malling suffering a horrendous daily traffic onslaught of passing freight that simply has to travel through the village because essential motorway connections at Sevenoaks are missing. The international juggernauts and UK lorries have no alternative other than to travel on the A20 / A25 through our villages to get from A to B. They not only increase the level of safety to our public but seriously increase the risk to our health. This pollution fills the air that our children breathe as they walk to and from school yet monitoring and measuring is virtually non - existent for us to know just how bad the damage is to their small lungs.

    One major initiative to improving the air quality in our villages would be to ensure that the A21 is fully connected with the M26 at Sevenoaks through re-instating the missing slip roads. It is inexcusable for local councils to publicly state that nothing can be done to improve the quality of air in the community. Those whom make these statements are incompetent to hold office, unable to protect and represent their constituents correctly. Politicians and councillors should go into politics striving to effect change, make a positive difference and improve the quality of life for the constituency they represent. The re-instatement of the missing slip roads at Sevenoaks would significantly reduce the freight on our village roads as well as significantly improve the air quality in our wider community. It is so encouraging to see local people from Malling to Sevenoaks raising the seriousness of air quality via their website www.j5slips.org and the public giving them the support they need to ensure that essential community improvements materialise.

    Tim Shaw (Resident - Borough Green)

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