Sidford: “Air pollution nanoparticles linked to brain cancer for first time”

“New research has linked air pollution nanoparticles to brain cancer for the first time.

The ultra-fine particles (UFPs) are produced by fuel burning, particularly in diesel vehicles, and higher exposures significantly increase people’s chances of getting the deadly cancer. Previous work has shown that nanoparticles can get into the brain and that they can carry carcinogenic chemicals. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/13/air-pollution-particles-linked-to-brain-cancer-in-new-research?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Air pollution: “buck being passed to local authorities”

So, what will EDDC do with the buck of Sidford “Fields” Business Park (henceforth the “Fields” misnomer will be dropped)?

“… More than four in five urban areas have illegal levels of air pollution despite government promises to tackle the problem.

There was almost no progress last year in cutting the number of areas that breach the limit for nitrogen dioxide largely produced by diesel vehicles.

The limit came into force in 2010. It will not be met for another decade in some areas, according to analysis by the campaign group Client Earth of official projections of NO2.

The level of NO2 in London last year was more than twice the legal limit, which is 40mcg of NO2 per cubic metre of air. The next most polluted area was South Wales which was 1.6 times the limit, while Glasgow and Birmingham were 1.5 times, Southampton 1.4 and Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Sheffield 1.3.

The figures are in the annual submission the government must make to the European Commission under the EU’s ambient air quality directive.

The submission covers 43 large urban areas and data shows 36 had illegal NO2 levels last year, one fewer than 2017. A small general decline in NO2 emissions, partly due to older diesel vehicles being retired, resulted in Birkenhead, Merseyside, falling under the limit.

This newspaper’s Clean Air for All campaign is calling for clean air zones in all cities with illegal levels of air pollution, with the most polluting vehicles charged daily entry fees as in London. The campaign calls for a Clean Air Act that would require the government to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit for fine particles everywhere by 2030.

The campaign will be the focus of an event in parliament today addressed by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, mother of Ella, who died aged nine after asthma attacks which doctors linked to illegal air near her south London home.

Client Earth, which won three High Court rulings ordering the government to produce stronger plans to improve air quality, said ministers were “passing the buck” to local authorities.”

Source: Times (paywall)

Too late for Sidford: “Air pollution particles found on foetal side of placentas – study”

“Air pollution particles have been found on the foetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning.

The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles per cubic millimetre of tissue in every placenta analysed.

The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers.

Damage to foetuses has lifelong consequences and Prof Tim Nawrot at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study, said: “This is the most vulnerable period of life. All the organ systems are in development. For the protection of future generations, we have to reduce exposure.” He said governments had the responsibility of cutting air pollution but that people should avoid busy roads when possible.

A comprehensive global review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body. Nanoparticles have also been found to cross the blood-brain barrier and billions have been found in the hearts of young city dwellers. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/17/air-pollution-particles-found-on-foetal-side-of-placentas-study?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Give up your car and get free bus pass, transport campaigners say”

“Drivers should get free bus passes if they agree to take a car off the road, campaigners say.

The Campaign for Better Transport says the idea could reverse the trend of declining bus use and help take polluting diesel and petrol cars off our streets.

The idea comes in a “manifesto” – The Future of the Bus – which has gone to the government as part of a national strategy to re-invest in Britain’s most popular form of public transport.

Bus services provide the “backbone” of the local public transport network, but savage cuts are leading to a reduction in bus use and services have shrunk every year for a decade. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/give-up-your-car-free-20068860

Clean air: too late for Sidford

“Thousands of lives a year would be saved by reducing air pollution to safe levels under draft legislation to be presented to parliament.

The Air Pollution Bill would require the government to adopt tighter limits based on World Health Organisation recommendations, a key objective of the Times Clean Air for All Campaign.

Ministers would, for the first time, have a clear duty to act on a problem that cuts short the lives of 36,000 people a year, costs the economy £20 billion annually in healthcare and impact on businesses and, if left unchecked, would cause 2.4 million new cases of disease in the next 16 years.

The bill, which has been drawn up by a coalition of environmental groups and air pollution scientists, will be discussed tomorrow at the parliamentary launch of the Clean Air for All campaign. It would also require air pollution monitors to be installed in every postcode and outside every school and hospital.

It will be tabled as a private member’s bill in either the Commons or the Lords and is expected to gain support from MPs and peers of all the main parties. Its supporters hope the government will adopt the measures in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

The government has pledged that the Environment Bill will contain measures to reduce air pollution but has yet to confirm what they will be. Michael Gove said in one of his last speeches as environment secretary that he wanted “a legally binding commitment on particulate matter so that no part of the country exceeds the levels recommended by the WHO”. Theresa Villiers, his successor, has yet to set out her plans.

The Times launched its Clean Air for All Campaign in May with a manifesto calling for a new Clean Air Act to confer a legal right to unpolluted air for everyone in the UK. The campaign also calls for sales of new petrol and diesel cars to be banned by 2030.

The Air Pollution Bill has been drawn up by Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), a charity that has been working on it with the UK100 group, representing mayors of big cities, and other green groups, including Client Earth and Green Alliance.

Baroness Worthington, EDF’s director and a crossbench peer, said: “The current approach to lowering pollution isn’t working.”

The bill would also require the government to publish an annual report on progress and establish an independent body to advise the government on how to meet air pollution targets.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We know the impact air pollution has on communities around the UK, which is why we are taking urgent action to improve air quality.”

Source: The Times

How WE can help to get to zero carbon emissions

“People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government’s chief environment scientist has warned.

Prof Sir Ian Boyd said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from the so-called Net Zero emissions target.

However, he said technology would help.

The conundrum facing the UK – and elsewhere – was how we shift ourselves away from consuming, he added.

In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian warned that persuasive political leadership was needed to carry the public through the challenge.
Asked whether Boris Johnson would deliver that leadership, he declined to comment.

Mr Johnson has already been accused by environmentalists of talking up electric cars whilst reputedly planning a cut in driving taxes that would increase emissions and undermine the electric car market. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49499521

“Growing up in air-polluted areas linked to mental health issues”

Welcome Sidford Business Park:

“People who spend their childhood in areas with high levels of air pollution may be more likely to later develop mental disorders, research suggests.

Air pollution has become a matter of growing concern as an increasing number of studies have found links to conditions ranging from asthma to dementia and various types of cancer.

There are also signs it may take a toll on mental health. Research published in January found that children growing up in the more polluted areas of London were more likely to have depression by the age of 18 than those growing up in areas with cleaner air.

But a study by researchers in the US and Denmark has suggested a link between air pollution and an increased risk of mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/20/growing-up-in-air-polluted-areas-linked-to-mental-health-issues?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Sidford Business Park gets approval

“The Planning Inspector has today published his decision regarding the appeal by Tim and Mike Ford, in the name of OG Holdings Retirement Benefits Scheme, for planning permission to build a Business Park in Sidford.
We are disappointed to inform you that the Planning Inspector has upheld the Fords’ application and therefore the Business Park will now be able to be built. This will be a shock and a huge disappointment to you. Attached is the full decision issued by the Planning Inspector.

However, this matter is not yet fully finished as there will still need to publish planning consultations on the detail of the site. Once these are known we will make sure that we draw these to your attention with the anticipation that you will want to comment upon them.

It’s a shame that residents were let down right at the beginning when the County and District Councils didn’t originally challenge or challenge sufficiently to ensure that the site was not included as employment land in the Local Plan. Once that happened it made our fight all the more difficult.
We must thank everyone who in their own way has sought to object to what we are all agreed is still the wrong thing in the wrong place.
Best wishes
Campaign Team”

More information here:
https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/inspector-allows-appeal-controversial-sidford-3231263

Hinkley C: Beware the consequences of large infrastructure projects

Hinkley Point C brings London-level traffic to small Somerset town.

Air and noise pollution, traffic chaos and rising rents are blighting the Somerset town that has found itself the gateway for the marathon construction of the new Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power station, locals say.

Limits for air pollution have been exceeded on main roads on multiple occasions this year, while Highways England data shows truck numbers have increased by more than 20% since building work started in 2016.

On some roads, two heavy goods vehicles pass through every minute. Not all are delivering to Hinkley but, with no bypass built for the nuclear site, locals say it has made the town unnavigable at times.

Buses transporting 4,000 construction workers to the site add to the traffic – and the influx of workers is pushing up rents. Rat runs are in gridlock and a town that is home to just under 40,000 people is experiencing London-level traffic on some roads.

Friends of the Earth, which looked at the air quality data for 2018 and 2019 provided by the local Sedgemoor district council, said it was concerned about the high incidences of particle matter on some roads.

Data shows that particle matter measuring 10 micrometers (PM10) has exceeded safe limits on Quantock Road 16 times already this year, while on nearby Bristol Road those limits were exceeded 15 times.

The latest data for traffic shows the number of HGVs has increased from 470 a day in 2014 to 900 in 2018 on Quantock Road, the principal artery out of the town to Hinkley.

For nearby Horsey Level, the number of trucks a day is registered at almost 1,500, while on Taunton Road, the main road coming from the M5’s junction 24, residents have to endure 1,050 a day, making it difficult to cross the road and forcing many cyclists on to the paths for their own safety.

HPC says the number of HGVs travelling every day to and from the site is capped at 750.

… Hinkley agreed a fund to fit double-glazed windows on some of the busiest roads in Bridgwater. It says this is a goodwill gesture and not an admission of responsibility for the noise of HGVs.

“EDF have paid to replace all my windows, and it’s made no difference. On a summer’s night, I’m not able to sleep with the windows open at all,” said Balcombe. “I am woken up every morning at 5am from the noise of lorries. And when these lorries are empty the clatter they make is unbelievable with the metal bouncing round.”

HPC points out that the HGV movements will ease in the autumn when it switches supplies to the sea. The jetty is now complete and the permission it got for an extra 250 HGVs a day will expire.

For Bridgwater locals a bypass would have been the answer and helped relieve the town of its perennial traffic problem.

The former Labour councillor Mick Lerry, who was involved in the fight for a bypass, said the attempt was stymied because it was never part of the development consent order submitted by EDF. “As it was not part of the application, it could not be considered,” he said.

The government said it had considered the impact of HGVs on Bridgwater and was satisfied. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/14/hinkley-point-c-london-traffic-bridgwater-somerset?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

EDDC Tory DMC Chairman uses his casting vote in controversial planning application

“Plans for 10 new homes in Axminster have been approved, despite fears children could be flattened by lorry drivers who wouldn’t notice them until ‘they heard the screams’.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee via the chairman’s casting vote gave the go-ahead last week for outline plans for 10 homes to be built on land adjacent to the co-op supermarket in Axminster.

Serious concerns about highways safety had been raised by councillors as the front doors of the houses would open almost onto the road delivery drivers heading to the Co-op use.

But the committee heard that Devon County Council’s highways department had no concerns over the plans and hadn’t objected, and committee chairman Cllr Mike Howe used his casting vote to approve the application, saying: “I have to vote in favour as I cannot see a reason for refusal that would stand up and would not cost this council money at an appeal.”

Cllr Paul Hayward had said that he was very concerned about the safety aspects of the plan. He said: “This is building family houses next to a car park and the front doors will open directly onto the path of a reversing HGV from the Co-op. The lorry driver would only be focused on reversing into his spot and he wouldn’t even notice if a child run out of the doors after a ball or a dog or if they saw a friend across the road.

“A child wouldn’t even be on the radar until he heard the screams. Safety is paramount and I cannot conceive a worse place to build family houses.”

Cllr Sarah Jackson added: “The development is situated opposite a car park and alongside the car park access road. Family properties are likely to be occupied by young children who lack road sense and can easily run out unexpectedly, particularly as they may not perceive this as a road in the traditional sense.

“Equally, articulated lorries have incredibly limited visibility and when turning may not see a child in time. The nearest playing field/recreation areas are at Foxhill and Jubilee field. Both would require children to cross several roads.

“It’s worth noting that the play park at Jubilee Field is currently out of action due to a legal dispute and it is unknown as to when this will be returned to proper use, so it is therefore likely that children will end up playing in the car park.

“I just question the logic of putting family homes right next to somewhere where lorries will be reversing in and out to make their deliveries.”

Cllr Tom Wright added his concerns about kids running out and being run over, and added: “I also have environmental concerns. Encouraging people to live in an area which is being heavily polluted and there will be lorries running with their diesel engines is unbelievable and an absolute nonsense.”

And Cllr Paul Arnott said the development was the kind of thing you may see in inner-city London, but that ‘even there it would be turned down on environmental grounds.”

Planning officers though had recommended that the scheme, which would consist of three blocks, be approved.

Six homes would be on a terrace row which fronts on to the car park, with two semi-detached properties situated adjacent to the supermarket building and two further properties fronting onto the proposed car park for the new three bedroom homes.

Development manager Chris Rose said: “The application seeks to address the two reasons for refusal on a previous application which related to the unsuitable access and conflict with the loading area to Co-op and the lack of affordable housing contribution.

“The development can be accommodated without harm in terms of amenity, highway safety, visual impact or loss of character. Although these types of development would usually result in an offsite contributions toward affordable housing, in this instance viability information has been submitted which has demonstrated that such a contribution would render the development unviable.

“The proposal adequately addresses the two previous reasons for refusal on the previous application and as such is considered to meet the social, economic and environmental and thus achieves sustainable development.

Cllr Helen Parr proposed that the application be approved in line with the recommendation, saying: “It is going to be difficult to refuse this on highways safety grounds as Devon County Council’s highways team are satisfied that there is appropriate separation. I don’t see how we can object on highways grounds if they won’t support us. The other reason why development was refused was on affordable housing but there is now evidence that it would be unviable.”

Cllr Eileen Wragg seconded the proposal to approve the plans, saying: “If we don’t, I think that this is one that we would fail to defend on appeal.”

The vote to approve the application saw seven councillors vote in favour and seven against, before Cllr Howe broke the deadlock with his casting vote in favour of approval.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/homes-approved-despite-fears-reversing-3111980