7 August 2017
The Green Party welcomes the overdue decision by Northampton Borough Council to declare new Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) around the North Gate Bus Station, but would like the Council to explain why this has taken so long.
Last September, the Northamptonshire Green Party released the results of our air quality measurement around North Gate Bus Station, showing that the air pollution around the bus station was well above the legal limits, and called upon the Borough Council to declare a new Air Quality Management Area.
The Borough Council response was that it had no intention to do so, as it’s Low Emission Strategy set out a plan to tackle air pollution across the entire town, and that air pollution at North Gate was only a problem at peak times. We subsequently obtained the Council’s own measurements, which showed that the pollution sharply rose when the Bus Station was opened, and had remained consistently at an illegal level. In November 2016, we again challenged the council to declare an Air Quality Management Area around the bus station, and they again repeated that they would not do so.
Steve Miller, who spoke on behalf of the Green Party at the Council meetings last year said, “The announcement that the Council is going to finally adopt an AQMA around the bus station is welcome news. It represents an embarrassing u-turn for the Conservative administration at the Guildhall, but I’m happy that they have finally decided to accept the overwhelming evidence.”
“I think the people of Northampton, specifically the shoppers in the town centre, deserve an explanation as to why it’s taken so long for them to take this decision. Siting the bus station in the current location is affecting the health of people in our town centre every day. I’m hopeful that this indicates the Council might start to take this problem seriously, but I wish they had listened to us when we first told them about it in 2016.”
The Northants Green Party will ensure the Council are held to account should they fail to ccorrectly implement the AQMA and will continue to collect their own Air Quality Data locally.
In Northampton, 6.1% of deaths every year are believed to be premature deaths caused by air pollution. This is above the national average, higher than anywhere else in the County, and accounts for more than 100 deaths each year in the town.
September 2016 - http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/policies-could-be-costing-lives-claims-former-northampton-mp-as-air-pollution-around-north-gate-bus-station-breaks-legal-limit-1-7603052
November 2016 - http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/figures-show-northampton-s-7-million-bus-station-has-caused-a-public-health-emergency-claims-green-party-1-7667432
NBC Council Meeting –November 2016 http://www.northamptonboroughcouncil.com/councillors/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=242&MId=8159
Contacts available for further comment :
Steve Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07598 735524
Tony Clarke, Tony.email@example.com. 07971 040166