British air pollution worse than Mexico, Brazil and US

“People in the UK are 64 times as likely to die of air pollution as those in Sweden and twice as likely as those in the US, figures from the World Health Organisation reveal.

Britain, which has a mortality rate for air pollution of 25.7 per 100,000 people, was also beaten by Brazil and Mexico – but it trailed far behind Sweden, the cleanest nation in the EU with a rate of 0.4 per 100,000.

The US rate per 100,000 was 12.1, Brazil’s was 15.8 and Mexico’s was 23.5, while Argentina was at 24.6.

The figures are revealed in the WHO World Health Statistics 2017 report, published on Wednesday, which says substantially reducing the number of deaths globally from air pollution is a key target. …”

With a recent judicial review announced for the effect on air pollution of a new town, one wonders if Cranbrook would have been one of those cited in the current (toxic) climate.

4,000 home planning application goes to judicial review because of air pollution effect

“A campaign group has gained permission to take a controversial planning decision in Canterbury to judicial review.

Sustainable Ways Integral to Canterbury’s Health (Switch) has objected to the 4,000 homes Mountfield Park development, which also includes 70,000 square metres of employment space, two schools and a reserve site for the Kent & Canterbury Hospital, together with a 1,000 spaces park and ride site.
Switch has argued that the application by developer Corinthian Land should on air pollution grounds have been rejected, or called in by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

Campaigners said they sought to raise £25,000 but would be represented by Robert McCracken QC for “a cut-rate price because he cares about Canterbury”.

Switch said Canterbury had been in breach of air quality laws since 2010 and that 100 people a year died in the city due to air pollution, which would be worsened by the development adding some 28,000 extra vehicular journeys daily.

A Canterbury City Council statement said: “It is disappointing that the judicial review application challenging the secretary of state’s decision not to call the Mountfield Park planning approval in has been allowed to proceed.

“Any involvement we now have in this process will mean spending taxpayers’ cash, which we would far rather spend on services for residents.”

It said Mountfield Park was “crucial to the delivery of our local plan and our vision for providing the homes and jobs for people who want to live and work here”, and had been the subject of extensive consultation.”

Don’t let EDDC give you a criminal record!

The Sunday Times reports that EDDC will become the first council to enforce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)with £80 on-the-spot fines or court proceedings for feeding seagulls on beaches at Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton.

A PSPO creates a criminal rather than civil offence.

There was no mention of how this will be enforced – presumably as it is a criminal offence the expectation is that police will do it, rather than “Seagull Wardens”.

Let’s hope that when a seagull pinches a chip from a child on the beach a policeman can catch it and that it doesn’t further disgrace itself in court! But at least we might recognise regular miscreants by the leg tags they may have to wear.

Election irony

Does anyone else find it ironic that Tory candidates are saying that they will “fight for” local hospitals, fairer funding for schools and our precious environment when it is THEIR party that brought the CCG’s that are already cutting beds by stealth, the unfair school funding and which wants to loosen environmental regulations as soon as possible to enable more building on green fields and who are trying to stop frightening air pollution figures being published?

The Tory battle cry seems to be:

“What do we want?”
“No bed cuts, fairer funding for schools and a healthy environment!”
“When do we want it?”
“Er, whenever Mrs May says we can have it, pretty please?”
“When will it be?
“Brexit means Brexit!”

Have fun with that one – and if you vote for the Tories in Devon just hope you, your children and grandchildren can afford a private education and health care and never need to go to an NHS A and E or GP – or breathe the air in our towns, cities and countryside – tall order!

We need a credible opposition at DCC to fight for us. Claire Wright has done a magnificent job fighting for our schools, our hospitals and our environment at DCC – but could do even more with an army of like-minded councillors alongside her whose battle cry would be:

“What do we want?”
“Our fair share in a clean, green Devon”
“When do we want it?”
“When our voters empower us to get it”
“When will it be”?
“When you vote Independent on 4 May!”

So, Independents don’t make a difference … wrong!

Devon County Council yesterday, voted in favour of my motion on sending a strong message to central government that nature MUST have at least the same level of protection after we leave the European Union.

Only one councillor voted against the motion, which is below.

Devon is thought to be the first council to endorse such a motion in the country. …


At their meeting this week, members of Devon County Council backed a motion by Claire Wright, Independent councillor for Ottery St Mary, asking for retention of at least the same level of protection for wildlife and environment, as provided by EU law. …

… Only one councillor voted against the motion – Cllr Richard Hosking of Yealmpton – who said the EU habitats regulations had “very many shortcomings”. Great crested newts were either “very successful at parachuting into every environmental impact assessment I have seen, or they are much more prevalent than their protection suggests”, Cllr Hosking said.

“Nearly 40 million people live in UK areas with illegal air pollution”

Owl says: you don’t hear (current) DCC councillor and its roads supremo Stuart Hughes (Conservative, ex- Monster Raving Loony Party) mentioning this in his election speeches … though you DO hear contender Councillor Marianne Rixson (Independent East Devon Alliance)doing so and drawing attention to its implications for the health of local communities.

“…The extent of the air pollution crisis nationally is exposed in the data which shows 59% of the population are living in towns and cities where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution breaches the lawful level of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre of air. …”

Claire Wright asks for “army of helpers” for bid to challenge sitting MP

An army of helpers are required if I am to run as a parliamentary candidate again!

I am seriously considering putting my hat in the ring as an Independent candidate in the 8 June General Election.

I have been for many years, deeply concerned at this government’s attitude towards public services, especially the NHS, social care and education, all of which are underfunded and hugely struggling, especially in Devon.

Devon County Council has seen over half its budgets disappear due to austerity measures. Many services have been cut back, or lost as a result.

I am also concerned about the effect of Brexit on the vast amount of land and species currently highly protected under EU legislation. This is at risk of not being properly protected as we leave the EU.

In Devon alone, there are 122 sites across 115,000 hectares, including at Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons.

The transfer of this EU legislation to UK law needs carefully monitoring.

Since Tuesday morning I have received hundreds of messages of support and offers of help if I decide to run again, which has been touching and inspiring. This has forced me to consider my options carefully.

To run a successful campaign at such short notice, however, I need an army of leafleters and helpers.

If enough people come forward to offer practical help, I will be able to run.

If you are able to help, please contact me at

stating relevant skills you have and how you can help.

Thank you.