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Friends of the Earth study reveals Deal has highest pollution levels in Kent

By Beth Robson

Curb your car usage is the plea from Green Party members after a study has revealed parts of Deal suffer worse air pollution than areas of central London.

Research carried out by campaign group Deal With It found nitrogen dioxide levels measured 52.9 micrograms per cubic metre. The EU’s legal limit is 40.

They were taking readings using a clean air kit near Deal Castle as part of an air quality study by Friends of the Earth.

Cars on the road contribute to the nitrogen dioxide emissions
Cars on the road contribute to the nitrogen dioxide emissions

The reading was the only one in east Kent to exceed the legal limit. Deal and Dover Green Party press officer Sarah Gleave said: “We believe this is a big problem in Deal and Dover.

“Vague promises on improving the South East’s railway network and reducing the number of diesel vehicles are not good enough.

“This is of concern to a lot of people in the area and we need the infrastructure in place to deal with 21st century pollution.”

Mrs Gleave and three other Green Party members met Nigel Collor at Dover District Council in March this year to talk about their concerns.

She said: “We think it is a pity that they are not monitoring levels close to the docks or primary and secondary schools.

“These emissions are incredibly harmful to children.

“We think there should be a lot more monitoring and we have been trying to raise money to pay for the monitors ourselves.”

The kits cost about £200 each.

The party also feel it is “ridiculous” that the council has just one electric car charging point in the district.

She added: “We know about the awareness work that has been done in Canterbury and we want to work a similar scheme this autumn.”

She is calling for people not to sit in traffic jams or outside schools with their engines on, and curb their car usage where possible.

Another recording was taken at the north end of Deal and showed only 19.6 micrograms per cubic metre. The study was carried out last October but the findings have only just come to light.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said the study is further proof of the need for a new road into north Deal. He is also calling for less “unnecessary traffic” in the town centre.

He said: “It is of serious concern that we have illegal pollution levels in the centre of Deal.

“Everyone knows congestion is a major cause of poor air quality. There needs to be less unnecessary traffic in the town centre.

“A new road direct to North Deal would help get cars out of the town centre and reduce pollution.”

Mr Elphicke has long called for safety improvements on the A258. He would like to see a new road built direct to North Deal, providing a faster route between the towns and relieving pressure on the existing route.

Mr Elphicke wants the authorities to look at building a new road to connect the towns, such as a dualled spur from the A256 to connect to Middle Deal and the North End.

Labour Party member Rosie Retcher said: “As a resident, I suffer badly with my eyes when the pollution is high. There have been certain times in the High Street when I’ve just had to stop walking. It’s probably having a much worse affect on people who suffer with asthma.

“Those who can walk should walk further.”

Deal With It has not commented on the study but did reveal it will be carrying out more tests before November.

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