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Poor Air Quality Due To Diesel Fumes

Friday, September 25, 2015

18 Areas In UK Above Nitrogen Dioxide Safe Emissions Levels Risking Health Of Street Cleaners, Refuse And Parking Staff As Regulators Grapple With VW Deceit

What VW has done is unforgivable and it should be severely punished for an immoral, devious and deceitful approach to public health risks and mis-selling says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff working on streets across the UK, today published a new study of official data on the mean average level of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollutants in the air measured at 110 monitoring stations across the UK for 2015. The data for the 110 stations is set out in the table below. It is the air pollution measurements at a range of different locations; some are at the roadside, whilst others are at background locations or in rural areas.

The European Union sets NO2 levels at 40ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) on average over a year. See notes to editors for details of EU limits.

There are the 18 that are at  40ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre or above as follows: London Marylebone Road; Hafod-yr-ynys Roadside in Caerphilly; Camden Kerbside; Glasgow Kerbside; Stoke-on-Trent A50 Roadside; Tower Hamlets Roadside; Bath Roadside; London Hillingdon; Belfast Stockman's Lane; London Bloomsbury; Oxford Centre Roadside; Aberdeen Union Street Roadside; Birmingham Tyburn Roadside; Southwark A2 Old Kent Road; Luton A505 Roadside; Oldbury Birmingham Road; Bradford Mayo Avenue; and  Haringey Roadside.

GMB members working on the roadside such as street cleaners, refuse workers, parking enforcement staff, utility workers, police community support workers and others are particularly exposed to such pollutants. GMB is calling for more local monitoring and for action to further reduce exposures.

Nitrogen dioxide has a variety of environmental and health impacts. It is a respiratory irritant which may exacerbate asthma and possibly increase susceptibility to infections. These gases irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases. In the presence of sunlight, it reacts with hydrocarbons to produce photochemical pollutants such as ozone. NO2 can be further oxidised in air to acidic gases, which contribute towards the generation of acid rain.

Nitrogen Dioxide - Annual Mean 2015

 

Source: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/)

 

 

Site Name -  Automatic Urban Monitoring Network

 Annual Mean

measured NO2 µg/m3

 

 

Aberdeen

21

Aberdeen Union Street Roadside

45

Armagh Roadside

23

Barnsley Gawber

17

Bath Roadside

52

Belfast Centre

27

Belfast Stockman's Lane

49

Billingham

17

Birmingham Acocks Green

18

Birmingham Tyburn

30

Birmingham Tyburn Roadside

43

Blackburn Accrington Road

26

Blackpool Marton

14

Bournemouth

13

Bradford Mayo Avenue

40

Brighton Preston Park

15

Bristol St Paul's

24

Bury Whitefield Roadside

21

Cambridge Roadside

34

Camden Kerbside

60

Canterbury

10

Cardiff Centre

27

Carlisle Roadside

25

Chatham Roadside

23

Chepstow A48

37

Chesterfield Loundsley Green

12

Chesterfield Roadside

18

Coventry Allesley

26

Cwmbran

11

Derry

13

Doncaster A630 Cleveland Street

24

Dumbarton Roadside

16

Dumfries

29

Eastbourne

11

Edinburgh St Leonards

22

Exeter Roadside

28

Fort William

11

Glasgow Great Western Road

28

Glasgow High Street

30

Glasgow Kerbside

57

Glasgow Townhead

25

Grangemouth

14

Grangemouth Moray

13

Hafod-yr-ynys Roadside

69

Haringey Roadside

40

Honiton

9

Horley

22

Hull Freetown

24

Hull Holderness Road

30

Inverness

27

Leamington Spa

18

Leamington Spa Rugby Road

19

Leeds Centre

30

Leeds Headingley Kerbside

39

Leicester A594 Roadside

33

Leicester University

26

Leominster

8

Lincoln Canwick Rd.

33

Liverpool Queen's Drive Roadside

33

Liverpool Speke

22

London Bexley

27

London Bloomsbury

48

London Eltham

20

London Haringey Priory Park South

23

London Harlington

28

London Hillingdon

50

London Marylebone Road

84

London N. Kensington

30

London Westminster

39

Luton A505 Roadside

42

Manchester Piccadilly

37

Manchester South

20

Middlesbrough

14

Newcastle Centre

29

Newcastle Cradlewell Roadside

36

Newport

21

Northampton Kingsthorpe

14

Norwich Lakenfields

12

Nottingham Centre

29

Oldbury Birmingham Road

41

Oxford Centre Roadside

47

Oxford St Ebbes

13

Peebles

5

Plymouth Centre

19

Port Talbot Margam

17

Portsmouth

19

Preston

20

Reading New Town

20

Salford Eccles

25

Sandy Roadside

31

Scunthorpe Town

15

Shaw Crompton Way

33

Sheffield Devonshire Green

23

Sheffield Tinsley

35

Southampton Centre

29

Southend-on-Sea

18

Southwark A2 Old Kent Road

43

Stanford-le-Hope Roadside

25

Stockton-on-Tees A1305 Roadside

18

Stockton-on-Tees Eaglescliffe

13

Stoke-on-Trent A50 Roadside

56

Stoke-on-Trent Centre

27

Storrington Roadside

23

Sunderland Silksworth

13

Sunderland Wessington Way

24

Swansea Roadside

26

Thurrock

26

Tower Hamlets Roadside

54

Walsall Woodlands

17

Warrington

27

Widnes Milton Road

34

Wigan Centre

18

Wirral Tranmere

19

Wrexham

18

York Fishergate

25

 

 

 

 

Site Name -  Automatic Rural Monitoring Network

 

 

 

 

Aston Hill

3

Bush Estate

6

Charlton Mackrell

5

Eskdalemuir

2

Glazebury

14

Harwell

7

High Muffles

5

Ladybower

6

London Teddington

19

Lullington Heath

8

Market Harborough

9

Narberth

3

Rochester Stoke

14

St Osyth

11

Wicken Fen

7

Yarner Wood

4

 

John McClean, GMB National Health, Safety and Environment officer, said “These figures on nitrogen dioxide confirm the urgent need for better air quality monitoring in urban and built up areas. Clean air should be a right, not a privilege.

Road transport is a major cause of air pollution. Even though engine technology is improving, these exposure levels are still dangerously high, and place workers and the public at increased risk of respiratory diseases.

What VW has done is unforgivable. The company should be severely punished for it’s immoral, devious and deceitful approach to public health risks as well as mis-selling to car drivers.

GMB has already had enquiries for company car drivers worried that emissions scales on which their VW cars are taxed could be reviewed by HMRC landing them with additional taxes.

We reiterate our call for high polluting vehicles to be banned from city centres, and for local authorities to take immediate action in priority areas such as near schools, hospitals and GP surgeries.

Waiting for technology to reduce emissions is not an acceptable response. GMB calls for action now.

Public transport must be made clean, reliable and affordable.

Councils must improve facilities for cyclists and employers should pay cycle allowances and other incentives to discourage car use.

Localised monitoring has shown some areas with extremely high levels of pollutants. So councils should do more monitoring to identify areas and times of day with high levels of pollutants. Doctor’s surgeries should have information on display making vulnerable people aware of these areas. Schools should advise parents and children of the routes to and from schools with the lowest levels of pollutants.

Contractors and councils should consider installing monitoring equipment on wagons and barrows. They should look at designing street cleaning and refuse collection routes to avoid the times in the areas with the highest levels of pollutants.” 

Ends 

Contact: Justin Bowden national officer for contractors on 07710 631351 or John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781 or GMB press office 07921 289880 and 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Air Quality Standards

Humans can be adversely affected by exposure to air pollutants in ambient air. In response, the European Union has developed an extensive body of legislation which establishes health based standards and objectives for a number of pollutants in air. These standards and objectives are summarised in the table below. These apply over differing periods of time because the observed health impacts associated with the various pollutants occur over different exposure times.

Pollutant

Concentration

Averaging period

Legal nature

Permitted exceedences

each year

Fine particles (PM2.5)

25 µg/m3***

1 year

Target value entered into force 1.1.2010
Limit value enters into force 1.1.2015

n/a

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

350 µg/m3

1 hour

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005

24

125 µg/m3

24 hours

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005

3

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

200 µg/m3

1 hour

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2010

18

40 µg/m3

1 year

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2010*

n/a

PM10

50 µg/m3

24 hours

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005**

35

40 µg/m3

1 year

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005**

n/a

Lead (Pb)

0.5 µg/m3

1 year

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005 (or 1.1.2010 in the

immediate vicinity of specific, notified

industrial sources; and a 1.0 µg/m3 limit value applied

from 1.1.2005 to 31.12.2009)

n/a

Carbon monoxide (CO)

10 mg/m3

Maximum daily 8 hour mean

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2005

n/a

Benzene

5 µg/m3

1 year

Limit value entered into force 1.1.2010**

n/a

Ozone

120 µg/m3

Maximum daily 8 hour mean

Target value entered into force 1.1.2010

25 days averaged over 3 years

Arsenic (As)

6 ng/m3

1 year

Target value enters into force 31.12.2012

n/a

Cadmium (Cd)

5 ng/m3

1 year

Target value enters into force 31.12.2012

n/a

Nickel (Ni)

20 ng/m3

1 year

Target value enters into force 31.12.2012

n/a

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

1 ng/m3
(expressed as concentration

of Benzo(a)pyrene)

1 year

Target value enters into force 31.12.2012

n/a

*Under the new Directive the member State can apply for an extension of up to five years (i.e. maximum up to 2015) in a specific zone. Request is subject to assessment by the Commission. . In such cases within the time extension period the limit value applies at the level of the limit value + maximum margin of tolerance ( 48 µg/m3 for annual NO2 limit value).

**Under the new Directive the Member State was able to apply for an extension until three years after the date of entry into force of the new Directive (i.e. May 2011) in a specific zone. Request was subject to assessment by the Commission. In such cases within the time extension period the limit value applies at the level of the limit value + maximum margin of tolerance (35 days at 75µg/m3 for daily PM10 limit value, 48 µg/m3 for annual Pm10 limit value).

***Standard introduced by the new Directive.

Under EU law a limit value is legally binding from the date it enters into force subject to any exceedances permitted by the legislation. A target value is to be attained as far as possible by the attainment date and so is less strict than a limit value.

The new Directive is introducing additional PM2.5 objectives targetting the exposure of the population to fine particles. These objectives are set at the national level and are based on the average exposure indicator (AEI).

AEI is determined as a 3-year running annual mean PM2.5 concentration averaged over the selected monitoring stations in agglomerations and larger urban areas, set in urban background locations to best assess the PM2.5 exposure to the general population.

Title

Metric

Averaging period

Legal nature

Permitted exceedences each year

PM2.5
Exposure concentration

obligation

20 µg/m3
(AEI)

Based on 3 year average

Legally binding in 2015 (years 2013,2014,2015)

n/a

PM2.5
Exposure reduction target

Percentage reduction*
+ all measures to reach 18 µg/m3
(AEI)

Based on 3 year average

Reduction to be attained where possible in 2020,

determined on the basis of the value of exposure

indicator in 2010

n/a

* Depending on the value of AEI in 2010, a percentage reduction requirement ( 0,10,15, or 20%) is set in the Directive. If AEI in 2010 is assessed to be over 22 µg/m3, all appropriate measures need to be taken to achieve 18 µg/m3 by 2020.

 

 

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