Baroness backs call for system to alert residents during pollution spikes

An influential member of the House of Lords has called on the Government to issue a system to alert residents during episodes of very high pollution.  

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Erratic levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide have been recorded so far this year but few “exceedences”, or breaches of the targets, have been registered owing to the system of smoothing spikes over a 24 hour mean.

Two weeks ago Baroness Jenny Jones echoed a call made by Colnbrook Views three years ago for a new system of alerting to vulnerable groups coinciding when spikes are reported.  In relation to an episode in 2014 when red dust and filthy air from continental Europe saw a blanket of pollution across the whole country, she told the Evening Standard on 11th January:

“The Government should take more responsibility for alerting people about filthy air”.

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Baroness Jenny Jones called on the Government to alert residents during pollution spikes (Evening Standard, 11th January)

She also called on the Government to do more about tackling the causes of filthy air.

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb represents the Green party in the House of Lords, where she focuses on civil liberties and policing, cycling and road safety, and climate change.

Other than former ward councillor James Walsh, the idea received no interest locally, and even local councillors seemed happy to put their faith in the air quality monitoring regime to protect residents.  There is no requirement for polluters to stop or reduce operations during an episode of very high pollution.

Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, has accused the Government of “working harder to hide these smog episodes rather than warning people about them”.

Meanwhile schools in the worst hit areas of London are set to be audited for pollution and measures considered including moving school gates away from busy roads and introducing “no idling zones” to cut emissions.

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