Norwich former nurse’s warning to Theresa May over pollution levels

Norwich wakes up to another day of mist and pollution.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Norwich wakes up to another day of mist and pollution. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Diesel emissions will cause 'irreversible lung damage to the current generation of children', hundreds of doctors and nurses have warned in an open letter to the prime minister.

A Norwich-based former nurse, who now specialises in public health, joined the call for a plan to take diesel cars and lorries off the road.

Rebecca Gibbs, who lives off Ketts Hill, also urged people living in the city to do their bit by walking or cycling on short journeys, claiming more needed to be done to make Norwich a 'livable' city.

'We want a liveable city and want to protect particularly young people's lungs, but everybody's lungs, and national things like action on diesel would help massively with the hot spots in Norwich,' she said.

But the social policy specialists said Norwich pollution was 'nothing compared to London'.


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'Some good work has been done and attention is being paid to the Castle Mall area, because that is a hot spot. We are not one of the worst. But when you look at the population we have, it is not a very populous place. It should be better,' she said after joining the Doctors Against Diesel campaign call for action.

'What is problematic is where industry and other people purchasing cars don't know where they stand. That is when people get really unhappy and it is really understandable. It is a big purchase item. We need a good plan.'

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In the open letter to Mrs May the doctors, nurses and public health workers said: 'There is strong and growing evidence of a wide range of life-course health effects from these pollutants. For example, in infants and children there is strong evidence, including data from children in London, that exposure to fossil fuel - derived air pollution stunts lung growth. We are asking you to focus on diesel because road transport generates 45pc of total NOx emissions in Greater London.

Questioned by the EDP about how he was tackling air pollution levels in Norwich, which hit the recorded level on the small particles index last month, transport secretary Chris Grayling said the government was funding more electric charging points and he expected the government to do more to try and encourage people to use low emission vehicles.

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