Published: 07:00, 20 February 2018
| Updated: 07:06, 20 February 2018
Air pollution causes more than 120 deaths in Medway every year, according to a new report.
The latest Air Quality Annual Status Report, which will be presented to Medway Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board today, suggests the area’s major roads and “significant” congestion in town centres are the main sources of pollution.
Public Health England figures show 125 deaths in the Towns can be attributed to particulate pollution each year, with the average life of a UK citizen cut short by around eight months.
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Despite air quality across Medway being deemed acceptable as a whole, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide exceed the national target in a number of areas.
Last October, Four Elms Hill – an area in Chattenden covering 24 residential properties – was made the area’s latest Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), where a local authority has to put together a formal plan to improve air quality.
Medway’s three other AQMAs cover parts of central Medway, Rainham and Gillingham – although the latter, located in Pier Road, could be revoked if concentrations of nitrogen dioxide remain below the required air quality objectives.
Medway Council’s existing Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) is attempting to address pollution in the region by encouraging people to use public transport, supporting sustainable development, and promoting eco-driving and car sharing.
The report reads: “Many challenges still lie ahead for Medway Council in terms of making a positive contribution to improving air quality.
“Road transport is the dominant source of pollution within Medway’s AQMAs, and reducing road traffic emissions is therefore the key air quality priority.”
Although figures show the number of bus journeys has increased over the past three years, there is no formal arrangement between Medway Council and bus providers in the area to promote green transport methods.
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