Acton's air unfit to breathe, say Friends of the Earth

Both ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels exceed government safety levels



Data produced by the Environmental Research Group at Kings College

West London Friends of the Earth

2004 was another bad year for air pollution in the area, say Ealing Friends of the Earth. Levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone in the air both exceeded Government health safety levels. This is mainly due to the amount of traffic on our roads, as vehicle emissions are the main cause of both these pollutants.

Annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide in Acton continued to break health thresholds, as they have in all previous years. This means that many adults and children in the area are continuing to be exposed to unhealthy levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The first full year of monitoring of nitrogen dioxide east of housing near the Hanger Lane gyratory system showed levels 2½ times above Government safety levels. Levels of ozone in Ealing have broken health levels two years running. In 2004 there were 15 days when ozone levels were above the health threshold, 50% more than the 10 days allowed.

For small atmospheric particles, safety levels were not exceeded in 2004, as in most previous years.

Christine Eborall, Ealing Friends of the Earth Air Pollution and Health spokesperson, said “In 2004 there were fewer really bad episodes of air pollution than in 2003, but pollution levels were still stubbornly above health targets. This is not just close to major roads but further away in residential streets. Therefore many people are breathing unhealthy air most of the time. This is of particular concern for growing children and for the elderly, both of whom more susceptible to lung damage from these air pollutants.”

She added: “The borough's air continues to be unfit to breathe. The main reason for this is remorselessly increasing traffic. Increasing population, new developments and economic growth mean traffic will continue to increase and air pollution likely to get worse. One of the best opportunities we have of improving this situation is the West London Tram, which will cut traffic in the borough by reducing roadspace on the Uxbridge Road and attracting car drivers to switch to it.”

January 9, 2005