28 June 2016
"In the wake of Brexit and the potential loss of existing air pollution protection from the EU, Maidstone Green Party have today launched a campaign petitioning Maidstone Borough Council and Kent County Council to take decisive action in improving the Air Quality in and around Maidstone. Previous demonstrations from Maidstone Green Party highlighted serious concerns with the level of pollutants that are present in the air we breathe around the Maidstone borough.
A recent government report has found that as many 130 deaths a year can be attributed to long term exposure to oxides of nitrogen and nitrous oxides in the Maidstone Borough. Maidstone Council have begun changes to the gyratory system in Maidstone Town Centre to improve journey times and increase capacity by adding extra lanes. Maidstone Green Party believes increasing capacity on the one way system and encouraging more journeys around the town centre will only increase the level of pollutants we breathe.
Speaking for Green Party, campaigner in High Street Ward Gareth Phillips said "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."
Adding to concerns, Secretary for Maidstone Green Party, Stuart Jeffrey said "With Britain voting to leave the EU, the UK's commitments to reduce its emissions are effectively non-existant. Now more than ever, we need Maidstone Borough Council and Kent County Council to show their commitment in improving the quality of air we breathe every day.
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."
Please support the campaign by signing our petition by clicking here
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