• Winchester green campaigners take fight to EU

Air Clean Up

Winchester green campaigners take fight to EU

Nov 30 2012

A group of campaigners who have been battling to clean up air pollution in Hampshire have taken the fight to the European Commission.

Air quality limits in Winchester are often breached, and the group is planning to formally complain to the European Union about the issue.

This afternoon, Green European MP Keith Taylor is will be highlighting the air pollution issue in the city.

Campaigners want the problem to be tackled head on, by cutting levels of traffic in the city centre.

Winchester Friends of the Earth has called for the city council to come up with a plan to meet the legal air quality requirements over a set timetable.

However, the council failed to produce any plan to tackle the issue, according to the group.

Mr Taylor commented:  “I'm glad that people in Winchester have taken this bold step to voice their concerns at a European level. Air pollution levels are worryingly high and we've seen no serious action from either the city or the county council.

"I'm pleased to be supporting their complaint to the European Commission in Brussels. It's high time that action was taken to make Winchester a healthier, safer place to live in and travel around."

The city centre has experience high levels of nitrogen dioxide for years. It does not just breach the rules, but is actually around 25 per cent over the maximum permitted restrictions under both European and UK legislation.

It is believed that long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide could lead to an increase in asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses in children.

Dr Michael Wilks, a health expert and a member of Winchester Green Party warned that the health implications of a traffic-dominated town are "very serious".

This also inhibits healthy alternatives to car access in the city centre such as walking and cycling, he pointed out.


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