Category Archives: Air Pollution

Air Quality Monitoring – we get moving

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On the suggestion of our M P Andrew Mitchell, Eco Sutton applied for lottery and Town Council funding for equipment to measure the air quality in the town.  This is because we share the national concern about the effect of traffic fumes on people, especially children.  This leads to premature deaths by the hundreds.

And we don’t know clearly what the air quality in Sutton is like, Eco Sutton searched for monitoring equipment; and is working with Friends of the Earth on a first tranche of data-collection in July.

We aim to concentrate on busy roads and those near schools.

We met Andrew Mitchell MP on 18.11.16

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EcoSutton meeting with Andrew Mitchell, Friday 18 November 2016.

Towards a cleaner, greener Royal Town

On Friday, 18 November, 3 representatives from EcoSutton, John Heywood, Sue Fenoughty and Kath Taylor, met with Andrew Mitchell, MP, to discuss the follow up of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which was signed by foreign minister, Boris Johnson, on behalf of the UK, only the day before, on the 17th November.  The UK has become the 111th country to ratify the Paris climate agreement, which aims to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change by cutting carbon emissions.

It was agreed that cutting carbon emissions in our Royal town poses a particularly big challenge due to the high number of car owners:  there are more cars per head of the population of Sutton Coldfield than anywhere else in the country.   The suppression by some car manufacturers of the particularly harmful effect of nitrous dioxide emissions from their diesel engines, triggered EcoSutton to investigate air quality in Sutton Coldfield.  Mr. Mitchell agreed that traffic outside his office in the High Street is heavy throughout the day, and to prove his point, he took the EcoSutton reps. outside and photographed the passing vehicles.   EcoSutton are following this up by purchasing portable air monitoring devices to use outside schools, etc. during rush hours periods.   Mr. Mitchell also agreed that car manufacturers should be encouraged to make electric cars which would cut down on harmful carbon emissions, and better access to charging points was discussed.    EcoSutton are also pursuing cleaner, safer routes for cyclists in and around the town.

Other ways of reducing our carbon footprint were put forward by EcoSutton which had been proposed at a public meeting at St. Peter’s church hall, Maney in October, attended by people from a variety of local Churches , Mosques and community groups. Ideas included energy conservation, such as insulating our homes, schools, offices, shops, etc.   It  was also suggested that all new buildings with south facing roofs should install solar panels thus cutting down of our reliance on energy produced by carbon producing fossil fuels.   There are various schools in Sutton currently extending their premises, and Mr. Mitchcll agreed that the reducing cost of solar panels should encourage builders and developers to install these.

EcoSutton wishes to thank Mr Mitchell for his time and attention to our recommendations and will await his full response.

Air quality from the High Court to Sutton High Street

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Air quality is in the news.  The government has once again been ordered in a court case to do better.

Birmingham City Council points out that 900 deaths per year have cause partly attributable to air pollution.

But Eco Sutton is taking action.  We have bought a Clean Space Tag which will enable us to take readings of air quality, around the town at places we reckon will give high readings.

This information will be contributed to the city’s working party.  The city council is working on the creation of a clean air zone; and in general in improving air quality by pushing the use of cleaner vehicles.

Air Pollution – the city council replies

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In May we finally received a reply to our petition.
Our paraphrase is that the city has only one officer who works on air pollution. There are much more polluted places than Sutto, so little will be done for us. Unless that is, the Sutton public joins in our campaign.
We will amke decisions on the way forward at our meeting on June 20th.
John Heywood.

Air Quality Petition

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We have sent to Birmingham councillors a petition with 190 names, requesting the monitoring of air quality on certain main roads, particularly near schools, and to let us know the results. We have also asked what plans the Council has to reduce harmful vehicle emissions of NO2 and tiny particles, all of which penetrate our lungs and shorten our lives.
So far we have established that Big Birmingham Bikes have ongoing plans to establish more safe cycling and walking routes – some of them in Sutton and Erdington – to encourage healthier lifestyles for those journeying to work, school, shops, etc.
We wish to encourage people to choose electric or hybrid cars. Two members of our group run an electric car leased for £160 per month.

Air Quality Petition Sent To Council

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Our Air Quality Petition is being sent to the city council this week.

The Eco Sutton petition has 190 signatures, which we collected on our visit to new Hall Mill in July and at our stall at the EXPO in The Parade at the end of September.

We are asking the city council to tell us what the air quality is like in Sutton, how often they measure it, where and when. And most importantly what is the city’s plan to meet the EU standards on Air Quality.

We will let you know what answers we get.

Air Quality

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Risks To Health

Few people, we believe, recognise the risks from poor air quality because those risks are unseen and not immediately experienced. We have sought to identify these risks below.

  1. The number of deaths attributed to long term exposure to air pollutants in the UK in 2012 was 28,969. The figure for Birmingham was 520. (Public Health, England 2014)
  2. The air pollutants are largely invisible and odourless. They comprise the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and the tiny particulates labelled PM 2.5s, which penetrate our lungs.
  3. The International Agency for Research on Cancer stated in 2013 that PM 2,5s were a cause of lung cancer.
  4. Both NO2 and PM 2.5s are emitted by diesel engines. Sales of cars with diesel engines have increased from 10% in 1995 to over 50% of all car sales in 2014. In contrast, cars with petrol engines emit very much lower amounts of both of these pollutants.
  5. The Supreme Court (presumably stimulated by concerned groups of citizens) has instructed the Government to draw up a new air quality plan by the end of the year.

Armed with the information above, EcoSutton wants to stimulate discussion. Our ideas, which are far from complete, are:

  • encourage people to buy cars with petrol, hybrid or electric engines;
  • request the creation of more walking and cycling routes away from main roads;
  • encourage a greater use of public transport with hybrid or electric buses.