8 March 2016

Local Greens have branded Maidstone Borough Council as irresponsible, accusing it of ignoring the appaling impacts of air pollution as the council announced its failure to consult properly with the public on the issue. Only three people responded to the consultation on the strategy and the Greens have stated that councillors have shown a complete disinterest in an issue that is killing 130 people each year in Maidstone. The Greens have called for a further consultation and for real measures to be proposed that will reduce pollution.

Gareth Phillips, Green Party campaigner in High Street Ward: "The council's plans to address air pollution are bordering on negilgence. 130 people are killed as a result of air pollution each year in Maidstone yet the council seems to have little interest in even beginning to tackle the problem.

"Their consultation on a strategy has failed. It was hardly surprising that just three people responded when the council has not clearly advertised it to the public. Even the councillors who must have known about the consultation have done nothing to encourage people to respond. It is clear that the council is not interested in people's concerns.

"It may be that they were not keen to get responses from the public as their proposed strategy is woeful. It fails to mention the number of deaths in Maidstone, hiding behind a percentage figure and it chooses to ignore deaths from nitrous oxides altogether. The strategy fails to suggest any real measures either to understand air pollution or to reduce it."

Stuart Jeffery, Secretary of Maidstone Green Party: "Two or three people are dying each week here in Maidstone while the council is happily ignoring its duty to tackle this urgent issue. We need to see concisive action such as live monitoring across the borough that trigger a range of actions to bring pollution levels back down, such as road closures. We need to see a huge public awareness camapign and we need to see real investment in walking, cycling, buses and trains."