Pollution levels in St Albans city centre ‘endangering’ lives, says Green councillor Simon Grover

Up to 65 people a year could be dying early as a result of air pollution in St Albans.

Up to 65 people a year could be dying early as a result of air pollution in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

Toxic levels of air pollution in parts of St Albans could be killing up to 65 people per year in the area.

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that 29,000 people in the UK die annually as a result of polluted city and town centre streets.

Fumes and emissions from diesel cars also mean some are at risk of early death through long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide.

Green district councillor Simon Grover, who represents the city centre ward of St Peter’s said: “These figures from WHO should not be a surprise to us in St Albans as we have known about these problems for many years.

“The district council has a responsibility to protect the health of the population, and if we allow these levels to remain so high we will be endangering the lives of locals yet further.

“Our council must act, and act soon.”

The Peahen crossroads and the road junction at London Road and Watsons Walk are said to have the highest readings for polluted air in the city. Both areas witness long queues of stationary traffic on a daily basis.

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Cllr Grover also singled-out buses and taxis which often sat idly in parts of the city centre with their engines running.

He went on: “This could easily be stopped with very little effort if the council imposed penalties for waiting in these areas with the engine running.” The Green councillor did accept that the area was disadvantaged owing to its geographical location very close to the M1 and M25 motorways but stressed action could still be taken to improve the situation.

He said: “There are many ideas that I would like the district council to consider but I think the most practical and simplest solution would be to keep heavy lorries out of the town centre and have them transfer their loads to cleaner vehicles.”