19 May 2016
We are deeply concerned by the findings of a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week which has named-and-shamed Warrington as the second worst city in the North West for breaching safe levels of air pollution. Only 11 of 51 cities meet their guideline limit for dangerous particulates, according to the report.
According to the WHO, ambient air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to health and causes more than 3 million premature deaths worldwide each year. Reducing emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing the number of cars on our roads with more public transport, walking and cycling networks are all named by the organisation as “available and affordable strategies” to improve public health.
However, although Warrington Borough Council claims to take air pollution seriously, recent council decisions suggest this is not the case. In fact, the council have this week awarded a contract for an £18.5 million, eight-level multi-storey car park in the town centre. This will only increase the number of cars on our roads at a time when high fares and poor service are discouraging many local residents from using bus services in the town.
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party, responded to the report, saying:
“That less than 22% of our cities are under the World Health Organisation guidelines on dangerous particulates is nothing short of a disgrace.
“More must be done to bring down the levels of PM2.5s, those particulates that penetrate deep into our respiratory systems and cause major health problems. The Green Party is calling for bold measures to reduce traffic levels and create safer streets for walking and cycling, as is the norm in other European cities.”