Campaigners call for action to clean up Chichester’s air

Clean air campaigners gather in Orchard Street, November 15.
Clean air campaigners gather in Orchard Street, November 15.

Wearing face masks and carrying banners, residents and campaigners gathered in Orchard Street on Wednesday to push for action on cleaning up the city’s air.

Among the group was nurse Jackie Cooper, who works at St Richard’s Hospital and said there were 419 deaths a year in the Chichester district due to air pollution.

She said the number of cars down Orchard Street had increased since she moved in a year ago, and she was concerned traffic would only get worse with more houses on the way.

She said: “The NHS is already overloaded, we’re adding to it with conditions that shouldn’t even be thought about.

“It’s our children’s future.

“Chichester District Council has a duty to its citizens to do something.”

Air quality monitoring is already in place in Orchard Street, which is known as a busy through road, Jackie was concerned monitoring on its own did not achieve anything.

City councillor Sarah Sharp said the group wanted the council to persue ways of promoting electric vehicles and pubic transport and reducing HGVs and oil-based cars through the city.

She said: “We are wearing masks today as a protest – not because we believe wearing masks is the right thing.

“The masks are a sign that our councils have failed us. They need to sit up and listen and then act.

“For actions to be effective, they do need funding. Our councils are keen on ever expanding growth of the area and the measures desperately needed to make travel more sustainable are not being pushed through quickly enough.

“For example we still don’t have the crossing on Oaklands Way to help people moving into Graylingwell to cross the road when they come into the city.

“We know that planning is not delivering safe routes for people who walk and cycle and growth and development are prioritized at the costs of people’s health.”