Posts Tagged ‘air pollution’

To have freedom to breathe, we must go fossil free

April 10, 2015

Freedom to Breathe

Freedom to Breathe has been set up by two asthmatic guys, both called Guy. (It’s a small world.)

Our message is simple. Burning fossil fuels worsens asthma and other respiratory diseases. To be able to breathe freely, we need to go fossil free.

There are millions of asthma sufferers in the UK, and millions more worldwide. Asthma has multiple causes, both genetic and environmental, and there are different treatments of varying effectiveness. But it’s clear that air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels worsens asthma attacks, and can contribute to the onset of asthma in the first place.

We can reduce air pollution with things like low-emission zones and tougher vehicle pollution standards. But whilst we still burn fossil fuels, we can never end air pollution. To get to the root of the problem, we have to ditch a transport system that’s hooked on oil and an energy system dependent on coal…

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Blood red rain

April 10, 2015
calima - haze caused by dust from Sahara

calima – haze caused by dust from Sahara

Blood red rain is possibly an exaggeration, but high pollution levels in England over the last few days, expected to peak today, with people warned to take care.

High pollution levels to hit southern England, add to the mix pollution from France and dust from the Sahara.

A major spike in air pollution across much of England poses a risk to those suffering from respiratory diseases, older people and children, health charities warned today.

The government pushed its smog alert levels to “very high” – its most extreme pollution warning – for some parts of south east England.

In Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings the official advice for all residents – regardless of their health – to reduce their physical exertion. Older people and children on Easter school holidays have been urged to avoid any strenuous activity at all.

In other areas of England, particularly the south east and Midlands, the smog levels will be high enough to cause problems for those with pre-existing problems.

When The Green Party puts forward someone to speak, it does help to have someone who actually knows what she is talking about.

On World at One (wato) on BBC Radio 4, transport spokesman Caroline Russell welcomed dust from the Sahara, as part of the pollution mix. She added because it made it visible.

An extremely crass comment to make. Any pollution mix is bad, worse than the constituents, a toxic cocktail. Dust from the Sahara is very bad.

Periodically, Tenerife is hit by sub-tropical storms, it turns very warm and what appears to be mist out to sea is dust, when it hits, extensive damage, dust is blown in from the Sahara, everywhere covered in fine yellow dust.

Within days, many people fall sick, coughing, flu-like symptoms, ache, groggy head, fever.

Speaking to a doctor, I asked was it an allegeric reaction, very fine dust penetrating deep into the lungs, or was it carrying in viruses. She said viruses.

I still have bronchitis, a month on from a sub-tropical storm hitting Tenerife. The last few days feeling much worse, coughing, blocked up, tired and weak. I thought maybe high pollen levels. Now I realise, suffering from high pollution levels.

Caroline Russell talked of people walking and cycling and gave a figure of £30 per head. Where did this come from?

Why oh why, did she not talk about bringing railways back into public ownership? Though she did talk about better integrated public transport.

Why oh why did Green Party not put forward Tamsin Omond. Tamsin knows what she is talking about and she is a candidate in London.

A wonderful breath of fresh air, Caroline Lucas on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions. A glimpse of what could have been had the Green Party had the good sense to put Caroline forward for the Seven Party Election Debate last week.

Wato were also at fault. Three main parties on earlier, the usual pathetic drivel. Why were they not put on the spot on air pollution?

When there is a high pollution alert, why is there not a ban on cars entering cities? They do this in France. Public transport is free. Much easier to achieve when public transport is in public ownerhip.

Why are our towns and cities not car free? Follow the examples of Athens, Istanbul, Puerto de la Cruz, Bassano del Grappa, Cascais, Santiago de Compostela, in all of which the old parts of the cities are car free. In Istanbul, deliveries are in the morning or early evening, vehicles park on the outskirts and deliver by handcart.

Aldershot has the crass stupidity, of late afternoon, vehichles permitted to drive through pedestrianised streets. For the last three months, this has not been possible due to the laying of waterpipes. Now people have got out of the habit, make it permament. People have been able to enjoy the benefits over the last three months. There is also more people on the streets late afternoon. This one act, would achieve far more than the crass stupidity coming from the local council.

It is claimed 27,000 deaths a year from air pollution. Where does this figure come from? It sounds an exaggeration, but even if only 2,700, it would still be too high.

People need to exercise more, walk, cycle.

In Cascais along the promenade, and in Tauro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz, there are outdoor exercise machines for people to use, popular and fun to use. Why not install along the seafront in Brighton?

We need a better integrated public transport scheme, cheap, reliable, and in public ownership.

Alton Station is classic how not to. A bus stop marked bus-train interchange, the bus timed to leave as the train arrives.

We need far more information at bus stops (often not even a timetable), and on the buses.

At A Coruña, bus stops have live information, show the buses, where they are, estimated time of arrival.

Across Europe, next stop displayed on the bus and announced in English and the local language.

The HS2 gravy train should be scrapped. The money invested in improving the existing rail network.

Why are developments permitted that will only cause an increase in air pollution?

1720s Tumbledown Dick demolished for a 200+ seater Drive Thru McDonald’s.

Air pollution would rule out additional runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or any airport expansion in the south of England. Mayor Boris has already vetoed expansion of London City Airport.

air pollution forecast Friday 10 April 2015

air pollution forecast Friday 10 April 2015

Clapped-out ice cream van polluting pedestrianised streets

August 7, 2014
clapped out ice cream van

clapped-out ice cream van Aldershot street market

clapped out ice cream van

clapped-out ice cream van Aldershot street market

For the last three weeks, there has been a clapped-out ice cream van with its engine left running during the Thursday street market in Aldershot. One week top of Union Street, one week lower down in the middle of the market, this week in Wellington Street.

A diesel engine idling is bad at the best of times, noise and air pollution, there should therefore be zero tolerance of a diesel engine running all day long in a pedestrian street, where you do not expect either engine noise or pollution.

The exhaust from the ice cream van is only a few inches above the ground. Those worst affected will be toddlers and children in buggies, those most vulnerable. They will be subject to NOx and diesel particulates, neural toxins and harmful to lungs.

Running an engine while a vehicle is stationary pollutes the environment and is against the law on a public road.

If a vehicle is idling it can produce up to twice as much exhaust emissions as when it is moving. Exhaust fumes contain a wide range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). These detrimentally affect the quality of the air we all breathe.

Diesel vehicles emit four times more NO2 and twenty-two times more PM10 than petrol vehicles.

In Islington, 200 premature deaths a year from poor air quality.

Many areas of the country exceed World Health Organisation guidelines and EU limits, and as a result face EU imposed fines.

Islington, the first borough to do so, has zero tolerance of idling engines. Anyone who leaves an engine running faces an on-the-spot fine of £20 (doubled to £40 if not paid).

This ice cream van must be removed, and it begs the question why was it tolerated or granted permission in the first place?

It appears it was the market manager who granted permission, but as the street is closed to vehicles during the day until 4pm (6-30pm on market days) the market manager has no authority to grant permission. And as already noted, it is illegal to idle an engine on a public road.

Why is there no enforcement? Why is there no enforcement of vehicles driving down Union Street and along Wellington Street on market days, when access is not permitted until after 6-30pm?

Dylan's ice cream at Guildford farmers market

Dylan’s ice cream at Guildford farmers market

If an ice cream van is desired, then invite Dylan’s ice cream, locally sourced quality ice cream and the van does not leave the engine running.

But this raises a further question: Why an ice cream van when there is an ice cream parlour cum coffee shop at the top of Union Street? Should the market be stealing business from local businesses, or do we wish to see more empty retail units?

Good for business

January 31, 2012

Good for business. A meaningless expression.

We were told doubling the capacity of Farnborough Airport was good for business. We were told it was good for the surrounding area. Not the views of those who live in the surrounding area, who value their quality of life. Not good for the nearby towns of Farnborough and Aldershot, both of which lie semi-derelict, though that owes as much to greedy developers and bad planning. Expansion of Farnborough Airport is good for Saudi-owned TAG Aviation, owners and operators of Farnborough. [see Farnborough Airport News]

Farnborough Airport was never going to be good for the local economy, as it is not a major employer. It lacks shops, customs, baggage handling, immigration control. At an average occupancy rate of 2.5 passengers per flight it is extremely bad for the environment.

HS2 we are told is good for business. There are even figures to show, it will shave 25 minutes off the journey time for businessmen travelling between London and Birmingham, as they will be the only ones using HS2. Not sure why anyone would wish to visit Birmingham, let alone get there 25 minutes sooner. Though I guess it may be an advantage to get away 25 minutes quicker.

High Speed trains are not good for the environment, major polluters. The scheme is simply an opportunity for the construction industry to make money. If there is money for investment in rail, then invest it in the rail network in order that we may all benefit.

Farce of rail price hikes

Crossrail will link east and west London. An excellent idea, but that is not why it is being built. It is being built to provide the City of London with a fast connection to Heathrow. Once again the taxpayer is being asked to subsidise the City of London. If the City of London wants a fast link to Heathrow, then the City of London should pay for it.

Thames Estuary Airport is the latest White Elephant. Again we are told good for businessmen, expanding airport capacity is good for business. We are told Heathrow lacks the capacity, lacks the destinations of other airports. Not true, but when has the truth ever got in the way when fast bucks are to be made?

Boris Island airport versus Thames estuary wildlife

London airports have 1113 departure flights to key business destinations compared with Paris 499, Frankfurt 443, and Amsterdam 282. Heathrow has 990 departure flights each week to the world’s key business centres – Charles de Gaulle 484 and Frankfurt 450.

Will aviation expand at the projected rate? Highly unlikely as flights will become too expensive as airlines are forced to pay their true environmental costs and the cost of fuel rockets.

Airports are not only a cost to private developers, it is the public purse that pays for the surrounding infrastructure.

Thames Estuary Airport would mean the closure of Heathrow, possibly Gatwick too. Massive loss of capital investment, not just Heathrow, but all the surrounding businesses. Massive unemployment west London.

Quality of life is a major determinant when people decide where they wish to live. London fails miserably. Expanding aviation would only make the quality of life worse.

London too dirty for business?

London ranks 25 on a table of air pollution for European cities. Mercer’s Worldwide Quality of Living Survey 2011 placed London in 38th place (out of 221 cities), behind Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

New report claims poor environment, not lack of airport capacity, threatens London’s status as top city to do business
London Claims Most Traffic Congested City in Europe Prize
Boris Johnson and the ‘invisible crisis’ of air pollution
London ranks among worst European cities for air pollution
Climate Rush Soho roadblock

London 2012 Olympics another mega disaster. Good for tourism, we were told. Greedy hoteliers jacked up their rates tenfold.

Slow Start For Olympic Biz Jet Bookings
Operators claim UK tourism affected by reserved Olympic rooms

I warned people to avoid London during the Olympics, avoid London end of July, all of August and early September. It will be hell in London. The transport system cannot cope now. Roads are to be hijacked for exclusive Olympic use. I am pleased to say people heeded my advice. London will be a no-go area for tourists, hotels will sit half empty.

Across the country town and city centres have been destroyed by developers out to make a fast buck and corrupt planners in their pockets. Good for business we are told. Good for greedy developers, good for High Street retailers, but not good for communities who see their towns laid waste, not good for local communities who see the wealth of the community leached out, not good for those who lose their livelihood and jobs when local businesses close.

In Lincoln, Sincil Street all that is left of character in the market area is due for destruction.

Destruction of Sincil Street

There are exceptions. Communities are saying enough is enough. We are no longer going to be walked all over by Big Business and corrupt politicians.

The Victorian Queen’s Market at Upton Park in London, one of the few remaining traditional East End London markets, was due for destruction. It has been saved, the developer St Modwen driven out of town.

Across the country traditional markets are being destroyed, bastardised and yuppified. Queen’s Market is one of the few remaining London east end markets. It was under threat when the mayor got into bed with property developer St Modwen who have track record of trashing town town centres (eg Farnborough and Hatfield), it was to be destroyed for a supermarket, but after a six year fight, Friends of Queen’s Market have sent St Modwen’s packing with their corporate tail between their legs. Remaining is to be answered is how much taxpayers money has the mayor wasted on this ill-thought-out scheme? He and the councillors who backed him should be surcharged and made personally bankrupt to recover ever last penny.

Queens Market
Asda v Queens Market
Victory for Queens Market!!

The irony is that those towns that have retained their traditional markets are thriving, the markets major tourist attractions. But that does not provide development opportunities, enable fast bucks to be made.

Bury Market in Lancashire – 300 stalls, a quarter of a million visitors every day! The success of Bury Market is down to two factors, quality stalls selling quality products and that the market worked with the local council to a common ethos, a common agenda.

BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2008

Communities are starting to take control of their own destinies. Often it is from small beginnings. In Alton, Greening Alton plants up small patches of land for vegetables, Transition Heathrow and Incredible Edible Todmorden has taken this much further.

We are in charge now

We can have development, but it has to be sustainable development, development that is good for people and planet. Good for businesses had to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Anyone remember, one for the road, an extra pint before driving off from the pub?

Put planet and its people at the core of sustainable development

London’s polluted air

July 12, 2011
Alice wants cean air for London

Alice wants cean air for London

public health warning

public health warning

dirty air causes 4267 deaths a year in London

dirty air causes 4267 deaths a year in London

I do not like visting London. It is noisy, dirty and polluted.

At least one group is calling for London to be made cycle friendly not car friendly.

Yesterday morning, Climate Rush visted two Mayoral candidates, Ken and Boris, to ask what they are doing about bad air quality. Wednesday, ie tomorrow, they will be mounting roadblocks to highlight the number of deaths from air pollution (Soho Square, 6-30pm Wednesday 13 July 2011). [see Roadblock – 13th July 2011]

Environmental activists give London Mayoral candidates a 7am wake-up call
Help us defend your right to breathe
GRIDLOCK: ‘DIE-IN’ protest to close major London junction