Over the past year, Society volunteers have worked with staff from the University of Kent Centre for Health Services Studies to measure road traffic exhaust pollution across the Town. The aim was to extend the data routinely collected by the Swale Borough Council, which at present is limited to a section of the A2 passing through Ospringe. The project was completed this month, and you can read the team’s report on-line at the link below. Essentially, the results show that the level of carbon particle emissions at Ospringe Street is below the limit currently recognised in the UK, but around twice the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation. In addition, at three other sites around the Town, Ashford Road, East Street, and Crescent Road, the levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution are well above the WHO limits and either close to or above the UK limits, pointing to the need for two new Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in line with the current AQMA at Ospringe Street.
Pollution levels in Faversham are not as high as the ones regularly occurring in cities like London, but nevertheless, residents living close to the sites mentioned are being exposed to a significant health hazard. There is also a risk to children on their way to and from Ospringe Primary school and the Abbey School. Although the children are exposed for relatively short periods, the health implications are not fully understood and are currently the subject of intensive research world-wide.
A tightening of the UK regulations could be important for Faversham, which will need protection over the next decade or so as a consequence of the housing developments currently taking place around the outskirts of the Town, which are likely to generate vehicular traffic queues on the narrow streets that make up our road network. Schemes for reducing traffic speeds, tackling the impact of car journeys to and from school, and for relieving traffic pressure on the A2 at Ospringe, could improve the situation considerably.
30 September 2019