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A "Must Read" Public Health England on-line document (14th November 2018) that brings the story of pollution bang up to date - the combination of illustrations and bullet-points should be mandatory reading for all Borough and County authorities around the UK.....
This is the clearest and best illustrated official statement of the damage to our health from pollution of ALL KINDS - Nitrogen Dioxide on the one hand and all the other PM2.5 particulate matter challenging us every day along the A2.
The key for me is the conclusion that there is no SAFE LIMITS for the smallest particle sizes (PM2.5 and less) and the quantity of non-Nitrogen Dioxide pollutants are growing with the growth in traffic.......
- Health Matters: Air Pollution (online) - well supported with infographics
WHAT NEXT? UNDERSTANDING QUEUES AND WHY THEY HAPPEN
QUEUES DO NOT BUILD UP GRADUALLY. IT TAKES ONLY A SMALL INCREASE IN VEHICLES TO SUDDENLY CREATE QUEUES THAT STRETCH FURTHER WITH MORE TRAFFIC JOINING MIX. All that remains is to create or find an equally accessible illustration of how only small increases in traffic can bring more frequent queueing and longer queues that build up more intense pollution where they occur - by definition, AQMAs are where worsening queues bring the greatest harm as more developments are approved and traffic increases. See "Traffic Flows"......
POLLUTION, NOISE, VIBRATION - A TOXIC MIX
My take on the issues
If you live, work, visit, travel or shop along the A2, you are facing physical harm from planned and 'opportunistic' commercial and housing developments that feed traffic of all kinds onto the A2. In Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) the level of traffic frequently exceeds the "service rate" for the A2 in built areas. "Service rate" equates with "capacity" - the ability of any road to cope with the ebb and flow of traffic. Adding to that flow of traffic can lead suddenly to wider and more intense congestion. With congestion comes greater density of the smallest polluting materials (gases, compounds, metals and minerals) mostly concentrated in built up areas.
The challenge facing residents, visitors and workers is worsening health conditions and more deaths - this is the finding of the latest Government guidance and the tools provided to Borough Councils throughout the UK. Swale faces significant measureable additional health and mortality costs arising from the combination of all PM2.5 particulates (in spite of reductions in Nitrogen Dioxide).
This web-site is changing to look at the different kinds of problems facing our communities from traffic and pollution that crowds in on all of us - especially along the built-up A2 and its junctions. Always open to other points of view, of course....
Click on map for larger image.
The Places: Map from Faversham to Sittingbourne (click map or link for larger map) with rough indications of SBC's Approvals under the Borough Plan and places where Developers are trying to get approvals outside the Borough Plan on greenfield sites. Taken together, there can be no doubt that an already polluted environment will become more polluted and the damage is greatest whenever traffic grinds to a halt or simply slows down.
Our stretch of the A2 is NOT part of the UK Strategic Road Network (SRN) - and yet its private and commercial traffic loading grows daily and is frequently brought to a halt. Planning decisions that cumulatively add new flows of traffic can only make matters much worse. Indeed, this reminds us how this part of the A2 was before the M2 was built. Visit the "Traffic Flow" Page.Particulate Matter PM2.5 - are they all the same? Not on your life!
SBC declared our five AQMAs based on concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (which does fall into the PM2.5 category.......). You may have heard about "Diffusion Tubes" - their proper title is "Nitrogen Dioxide Diffusion Tubes". The Government's latest analysis confirms that NOx has been declining (it is) BUT all other harmful particles (PM2.5) are increasing with each input of new traffic sources. At times, you will hear reports focussing on 'particles' in the class of PM10 rather than PM2.5. Of course, PM2.5 is included in PM10, but focussing on this larger-sized pollutants suggests the focus should be the same for all "undifferentiated particles". But emerging evidence confirms that these smallest (PM2.5) particles and compounds are amongst the most dangerous particles (able to enter our blood and organs). Learn more about PM2.5 through this link.
Job Done? No! By focusing on NOx, SBC and developers risk minimizing the increasing threat of all other vehicle-generated PM2.5 particles - metals, minerals, organic compounds and elements released by friction (brakes, road surfaces and vehicle tyres). Not to forget the background sources of PM2.5 pollution.
Negligent? In fairness, no. It is only in recent years that the damage caused by all PM2.5 pollution has been better understood. The problem may be that SBC measuring the wrong things going forward in defence of our health and in deciding where to permit housing developments and industrial sites. It is important that SBC deals with this wider question of finest-particle pollution rather than think that lower NOx levels means "pollution" and harm is nearly over ..... now that may be negligent.
Developers argue that each of their developments make "insignificant" additions to damaging particles. Government analysis shows that, for Swale, this is simply untrue!
Each additional vehicle brings with it a host of particles so small that they pass through our bodys' defences and settle in our blood/arteries and organs. This gets worse as congestion gets worse ... and this must worsen with each additional vehicle.
Understanding PM2.5 - and why it is growing threat to our AQMAs?
Follow this link to understand what PM2.5 is, including the latest Public Health England (PHE) analysis of the increasing health dangers across Swale over the next ten years .......
The challenge for us all is that in our AQMAs, Swale Borough Council (SBC) measures Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx) but not other PM2.5 harmful particles in the same class of dangerous pollutants. This is not to say that SBC is ignoring PM2.5 - check out SBC's useful introduction to air pollution monitoring and their FAQs.
The Greenstreet Menu of Services - getting shorter by the day......
- Belle Friday (Age Concern) Centre to Close.
- One GP Surgery Closed on Station Road.
- Post Office services in doubt.
- Bus services declined - and increasingly expensive.
- Train services reduced - and increasingly expensive.
- Congestion increasing - leading to queueing/pollution for longer periods and tailing back further during peak times. Ospringe AQMA had to be expanded because pollution has 'spread' further than first thought because congestion is getting worse.
- Regular M2 diversions - leading to congestion at ANY time of day.
- PM2.5 kills and harms people. Sources increase as vehicle numbers increase.
- Background sources of PM2.5 difficult to address. Marine, aircraft, agriculture.
67% of all PMs come from vehicle combustion and friction (tyres, brakes, road surface)
Other important sources of pollution over time can also be found in your homes. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in aerosols for cleaning or air-freshening, scented candles; furnishings, allergens (e.g. dust mites), cooking.
Everything in moderation .... it is important to understand that long-term choices in the way we live can have longer-term impacts.
What you cannot do much about - concentration of roadside pollution inside our living and working spaces (many homes and businesses on the A2 face directly onto the pavement).
There is evidence that log-burning can be very harmful (soot carbon, carbon monoxides & dioxides, organic compounds), especially if the wood is not seasoned. Also the choice of wood can have an impact.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
Another authoritative piece on the challenges facing communities currently suffering pollution concentrations at harmful levels.
This link gives you access to the latest advice being provided to local authorities from NICE. It also brings together in one place a few key pieces of current evidence.
KCC's Response: (dated 30th March 2018) to the 120 homes planning application has now (two months later on 26th May) been put on the Planning Portal Website! The Development Applicants saw this notice (and have tried to declare a "rebuttal" in discussion with KCC - do we believe them?) in March! So, why didn't residents? I could "interpret" this two month delay but why waste my breath (scroll down a few items to find where it has been 'slotted in') - or use this link to open and download KCC's letter.
- 11,500 new homes plus commercial sites and new junction with the M2 - "GARDEN TOWNS" - National Initiative. Learn more about this proposal, submitted to Swale Borough Council just before Christmas.
- Expansion of Lorry park at Teynham.
- New Distribution Centre [Salvatori] in Sittingbourne.
- Brickearth Extraction from Barrow Green Farm 760,000 tons over 25 years.
Want to be kept in touch as this and more recent proposals unfold? Add your name and email address to our group email circulation using email@example.com (maintained by a resident on the A2) or contact the Parish Council using firstname.lastname@example.org
LYNSTED PARISH COUNCIL Minutes and Agendas
These can be viewed as PDF downloads using this link. Decisions and services are made on your behalf - shouldn't you find out how you might be affected? They also need more Members - you can take an active part in promoting and protecting your Parish.