Urgent calls have been made for immediate action on the air quality problems in Leamington and Warwick.
On November 2 the High Court declared that the UK Government was not doing enough to battle the country’s air pollution crisis. Labour councillors are now pushing for more action to be taken about air quality in the towns.
Matt Western, councillor for Leamington-Willes, said: “The current measures are pitiful and the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report showed that Leamington and Warwick are among the worst 50 towns for air quality in the UK. We are calling on the county and district councils to move swiftly to increase the number of roadside monitoring stations and to locate them in the obvious areas they are needed.”
John Holland, councillor for Warwick West, said: “The air quality is monitored by devices over a period of six months and then we get an average reading. The county and district councils have agreed to real-time monitors, where people will be able to see at any point at any time where the problems are.”
During the summer months a consultation was launched to try and plan what changes could be made in Warwick to reduce air pollution levels.
Cllr Holland continued: “We in Warwick are years ahead of the rest of Warwickshire with our traffic management scheme, which has the backing of the public. We are aiming to encourage through traffic to use the bypass and that could take away 30 per cent of traffic away from the town centre. Our Government has to take action and I think we have a local scheme which supports the action they have to take.”
The district council’s Local Plan has also been a contentious issue for air quality. The plan is set to bring thousands of new houses across both towns, which could aggravate the current air pollution problem.
Cllr Holland said: “Warwick is already an air quality management zone without the extra traffic from the additional homes.”
Cllr Western is also concerned about the new houses. He said: “As we argued publicly in 2014, air quality will only deteriorate further as a result of the district Local Plan. At the time, the Conservative leadership of the district council was reluctant to do an environmental impact assessment of the additional 13,000 houses to the south of Warwick and Leamington but I fear we will see the consequences of this planning failure all too soon.”
Warwick District Council was unavailable for comment as the Courier went to press.