Thu, 20 Jun 2019
WEST Berkshire’s residents and businesses are being encouraged to take action to improve air quality.
The Public Protection Partnership (PPP), which delivers environmental health, licensing and trading standards services across the district, is urging people to ditch their cars and find greener ways of travelling.
Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts and can be a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer.
Additionally, it particularly affects the most vulnerable in society and those with heart and lung conditions.
Chairwoman of the joint public protection committee Hilary Cole said: “A very simple and effective way to improve the air quality in our district is for more of us who live and work here to use public transport.
“We offer a good range of public transport across the district and you can find out about transport near you on the West Berkshire Council website.
“Alternatively, why not consider walking, cycling or even buying an electric car?”
Mrs Cole’s comments come despite West Berkshire Council making a number of cuts to bus services over the past few years.
In 2016, research from UK advocacy group the Campaign for Better Transport highlighted West Berkshire as one of the hardest-hit areas for public transport cuts.
In May 2009, the heavily-congested ‘Burger King junction’ in Newbury was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) by West Berkshire Council.
Monitoring data showed that in 2008 the average nitrogen dioxide concentration at the junction was more than a third above Government targets of 40mg per cubic metre, while on 61 occasions during morning and evening rush hours, the levels exceeded the Government’s hourly target.
Last August, the council’s then portfolio holder for highways and transport, Jeanette Clifford, said that air pollution was no longer a problem in West Berkshire.
But she reminded residents that they have a responsibility to ditch their cars in favour of taking public transport whenever possible to ensure it stays that way.
The PPP says it wants residents and businesses to understand what they can do to help reduce air pollution and limit its impact on their health and that of others.
To find out more about travel options in the district, search Transport in West Berkshire or visit https://info.westberks.gov.uk/transport