Saturday, 30 November 2013

Want to know the truth about air pollution in Deptford?

As I was writing the title of that post, it struck me that some of you might answer 'no!' to my question, preferring to be happy in your ignorance rather than be faced with the stark facts about what damage local air pollution might be causing you.

That's understandable to some degree, but our corner of SE London is set to experience some very significant increases in traffic in the coming years as a result of the Thames Tunnel construction, a surge in our local population, and the construction traffic associated with building these new developments.

Having independent, irrefutable evidence of the impact this is having on environmental conditions will be vitally important if we are to argue for mitigation or traffic restrictions. Such measurements could also be vital to anyone wanting to judge the accuracy of claims made in environmental impact studies produced by consultants working for major developers. I have frequently questioned the accuracy of transport models created for major developments such as Convoys Wharf, and it is these models that are used to assess the potential environmental impact of a development.

Campaigners against the Silvertown Tunnel in our neighbouring borough of Greenwich carried out an extensive air quality study in the area of the tunnel earlier this year, and published their findings recently. I wrote about the implications for our local area.

These findings revealed shocking levels of pollution already in the area, and raised the question of what would happen if more traffic were to be generated by a new tunnel. Lewisham does measure air quality but on a tiny scale, just four stations in the whole borough - results from these stations can be found here.

Now the campaigners in Greenwich propose to repeat and extend their study, and are keen to get people from Deptford and beyond involved. They are willing to share their experience and enable other groups, campaigners or concerned individuals to access pollution data for their own use.

Tube being installed by Silvertown Tunnel campaigner
Campaigners against the tunnel shaft which Thames Water wants to sink on Crossfields Green have taken on the organisation of the scheme, and are asking for pledges of money and time in order to get a Deptford scheme under way. The cost of each monitoring tube, including the laboratory analysis, is just £7, which seems a very reasonable price to pay for what could be vital information. 

Volunteers are needed to put the tubes up and take them down a month later (they all have to be installed and removed on the same days, the details have to be noted and the locations photographed), and this is planned to happen in early January.

As well as feeding into the case against the Thames Tunnel shaft, the data that is generated will be available for the Silvertown Tunnel campaign, and there's also the opportunity for people to sponsor a tube to measure air quality outside their own homes. Schools may also want to get involved not only to measure the data but also as a project for students.  

Full details of the proposed air quality measuring scheme, the dates for involvement and the contact details for getting involved are available on Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart. 


Anonymous said...

A request was made to Hutchison Whampoa during demolition on the Convoys site for air pollution monitoring due to the presence and removal of asbestos and as a site of post industrial/military occupation. No air pollution monitoring was carried out during demolition or archaeology.

Mi Muba said...

Not only in Deptford but everywhere around the world air pollution is playing havoc with the lungs of people. You awesomely pointed out an important green issue with full justice to the subject matter. Great buddy keep it up.

ava said...

I've seen Don't Dump On Deptford's Heart page, and this is really good. Local entrepreneurs could be interested in this campaign, maybe they can cover the expenses for tubes...

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