Published: 00:01, 16 April 2014 |
Kent has the highest number of air pollution deaths in the region, it's been revealed.
Thanet tops the county's pollution death league, with 90 deaths from long-term exposure to air pollution in 2010, the latest figures available.
In Kent as a whole there were 745 deaths in that period, according to the report published by Public Health England (PHE).
Canterbury was the runner-up with 81 pollution-related deaths.
The areas with the fewest such fatalities were Ashford, with 50, and Tunbridge Wells, with 46.
Green Party County Councillor Martin Whybrow said: “Too many people are dying prematurely because of airborne pollution produced by cars and industry.
“Kent County Council needs to urgently review this unacceptable situation and review and strengthen its strategies to reduce airborne pollution and premature deaths across the county.”
It comes after the party revealed more than 7,000 pupils go to schools in the county near heavily-polluted roads.
Green MEP Keith Taylor said at a visit in Canterbury: “This report makes clear just how many children in Kent are going to school near busy roads that are likely to be very polluted. It’s abundantly clear that action is needed.”
Parts of Kent were slapped with a 'very high' warning of pollution from Defra recently - or 10 out of 10 on a scale of seriousness.
Towns and villages from Thanet to Dover were the worst affected, amid fears the pollution could affect those suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases.
KCC said it is district and borough councils' responsibility to find solutions to reduce the air pollution.
Thanet Green Party Councillor Ian Driver commented: “Kent’s councils should be investing more money in the development of cycling and walking and the improvement and expansion of affordable public transport.
“There should also be an increase in roadside vehicle emission testing to catch and fine polluters.”
Every Local Authority is statutorily required under the Environment Act 1995 to produce an Air Quality Action Plan for a declared Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
“Too many people are dying prematurely because of airborne pollution produced by cars and industry" - Cllr Martin Whybrow
A spokesman for Gravesham council said: "We currently have two air quality action plans which include measures to improve air quality within the declared air quality areas and across the borough.
"These measures include working in partnership with the Highways Agency, Kent County Highways and Public Health Colleagues."
A Tonbridge and Malling council spokesman said the area had an Air Quality Action Plan in place.
The authority was invovled in a number of air quality initiatives, such as electric vehicle charging points and air quality awareness projects.
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