Monitoring by volunteers coordinated by the Green Party has shown dangerously high levels of particulate air pollution in Whitstable.
We already knew, from the routine monitoring done by Canterbury City Council, that average levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution on Whitstable High Street are dangerously high. But the Council does not monitor particulate pollution.
So in spring 2019, the Green Party hired high quality air quality monitoring equipment from the University of Kent. We used it to measure nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution outside St Alphege’s Infant School over 60 days.
The monitoring confirmed dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide. Even more worryingly, we found that the level of PM₂.₅, the smallest and most toxic form of particulate pollution, is also dangerously high. The annualised rate exceeded the World Health Organisation’s guidance for health of ten micrograms per cubic metre. PM₂.₅ pollution aggravates children’s breathing problems, allergies and asthma, and has also been associated with lung cancer. A primary source of PM₂.₅ pollution is emissions from cars and other vehicles.
We are now campaigning for a new approach to reduce air pollution in Whitstable by increasing walking and cycling. This will increase footfall and custom for shops and businesses, as has been seen in other towns that have improved traffic management.