Particulate air pollution is a health hazard

March 15, 2021 10:30 AM
By Cllr Peter Walker

The Council should be installing more air monitors around the town to measure particulates in the atmosphere, says Councillor Peter Walker in the Liberal Democrat response to Warrington Borough Council's Air Quality Action Plan consultation.

pwalkerThe Council now measures only nitrogen dioxide comprehensively throughout the town. Pollution from nitrogen dioxide is reducing because of improved vehicle engine design and the increase in the number of electric vehicles. It is the effect of particulates in the air we breathe that may now be the greater health concern. The problem is tiny particles known as pm 2.5s which measure 2.5 micrometres or less.

One major source of these tiny particles is from motor vehicles due to brake, tyre and road wear, made worse by poor road surfaces. WBC now measures particulates at just one site in Warrington. This is away from heavy traffic and gives the town's 'background contamination' level and it has shown some increase.

The only other monitor which measures particulates in Warrington is the one installed by Stockton Heath Parish Council on the A49 in the village. This has measured a yearly average of 8.44 micrograms of pm 2.5s per cubic metre of air. This approaches the World Health Organisation's recommended maximum of 10.

I believe the Borough Council should now start measuring particulate levels across the town. We need to know what current contamination levels are and where they are, so that action can be taken to prevent it becoming a serious health hazard.

Peter Walker is a Liberal Democrat Warrington Borough Councillor for Stockton Heath ward and Stockton Heath Parish Councillor.