MEP to Address Air Pollution Danger in Portsmouth

Image of Portsmouth Green Party members taken at the Clean Air Walk in October 2017, courtesy of Andrew Larder.

Green MEP and air quality campaigner Keith Taylor will be discussing the poor state of air quality in Portsmouth at a public meeting on Wednesday evening hosted by the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign group. He will also be discussing measures that would help to bring air pollution in the city down to legal levels. Emma Murphy reports.

The #LetPompeyBreathe campaign, organised by the Portsmouth Green Party, Portsmouth Friends of the Earth, Milton Neighbourhood Forum, and other local activist groups, is dedicated to improving the air quality in Portsmouth for the health of its residents.

According to Mike Wines, the Green Party candidate for Fratton in the upcoming local elections, the area of Fratton Road, Kingston Road and London Road breaches national targets for its very high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Portsmouth City Council (PCC) still has not published its air quality public action plan for public consultation, which was expected by Christmas 2017, following the release of their air quality strategy in July.

The #LetPompeyBreathe campaign has now launched a petition that calls on PCC to publish the plan. As an act of protest, they will erect an air pollution ‘graveyard’ outside the civic offices at 3.30 pm on Wednesday.

Keith Taylor previously visited Portsmouth to talk about air quality on November 2, 2017, when he and Wines met with representatives from PCC in addition to Dr Jason Horsley, Portsmouth and Southampton’s Director of Public Health, and Richard Lee, a regulatory service manager and air quality specialist.

Taylor welcomed the formulation of the action plan, but voiced his concerns about the lack of a timeline for tackling the problem.

He said, ‘Every day that passes is one too many for those vulnerable to dirty air. We need to urgently ensure the city is brought within legal pollution limits and made a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and children walking to school.’

After the same meeting, Wines said, ‘We need to see urgent solutions to address the traffic problem in the city. Not just to and from the tourist areas such as Gunwharf Quays, but the traffic problem across all areas of the city such as Fratton Road, Kingston Road, and London Road where residents live, work and learn.’

The #LetPompeyBreathe public meeting on air quality will start at 7 pm in Southsea Village, Palmerston Road. Other speakers at the event include Rachel Hudson from Portsmouth Friends of the Earth and Rod Bailey from the Milton Neighbourhood Planning Committee.