Clean air solutions for city to go to the vote amid pollution concerns
A poll of residents found nearly a quarter would support the installation of safer cycle and bus routes to help combat pollution, according to clean air campaigners.
Clean Air Chichester supporters gathered in The Hornet on Saturday to carry out the survey on possible solutions to the city’s pollution issues, from wearing masks and avoiding main roads, to changes in transport.
The group said 10.7 per cent of respondents would back a rise in parking fees if the funds were used to reduce the cost of public transport, while 30.6 per cent would plant more trees to ‘soak up’ dirty air.
City councillor Sarah Sharp, who is leading the group, said: “Although the clear winner in the poll is planting more hedges and trees – which is hugely ironic given the rate at which we are losing them all around us near the Free School, Westhampnett Road, White House Farm and the new Cala developments – I would like to urge caution.
“Planting trees is only one of the answers. Research shows that trees can’t soak up all the pollution which is damaging our health – perhaps if we’re lucky this can reduce particulate matter by seven to 24 per cent.
“As a community, we need to work on taking all of these ideas forward together.”
Other ideas included introducing a clean air zone and using the proceeds on sustainable and public transport (six per cent), improving the electric car charging network (6.4 per cent) and fuelling buses with bio-gas or electricity (16.7 per cent).
Putting in safe cycle routes and bus lanes gained 24 per cent of votes, compared to 4.2 per cent for teaching more people how to cycle.
Mrs Sharp said the segregated and protected lanes for cyclists needed to be ‘prioritised urgently’ and the 200m of cycle path to be built by 2020 was ‘not an adequate solution’.
She said Public Health England data showed 4.9 per cent of deaths in the district were related to particulate pollution.
“With the recent poor weather and low cloud trapping in pollution throughout the city, it is a warning to me when I meet residents who complain of problems breathing with gritty and sore eyes,” she said.