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Call for more to be done to tackle killer air pollution in city

PUBLISHED: 16:01 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 27 February 2020

Calls have been made for more to be done to improve air quality in Norwich. Labour city councillor Kevin Maguire and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith. Picture: Submitted/Neil Didsbury/Lewis Whyld/PA Wire.

Calls have been made for more to be done to improve air quality in Norwich. Labour city councillor Kevin Maguire and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith. Picture: Submitted/Neil Didsbury/Lewis Whyld/PA Wire.

Submitted/Neil Didsbury/Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Council leaders have said they would welcome new powers or cash to help them tackle the problem of air pollution in Norwich.

Calls have been made for more to be done to improve air quality in Norwich. Pic: Lewis Whyld/PA WireCalls have been made for more to be done to improve air quality in Norwich. Pic: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith will today meet leaders at Norwich City Council to discuss the issue - with parts of the city centre among the worst places in the country for air quality.

Annual mean levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) dropped at most of the city's monitoring stations between 2017 and 2018, and fell below the government target of 40ug/m3.

But problem areas include Castle Meadow (54 for NO2), St Augustine's Street (44.4) and Chapelfield north (41.25).

Neasures of PM2.5 - fine particles linked to heart and lung disease, along with cancer - fell where they are monitored at Castle Meadow and Lakenfields.

Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council cabinet member. Pic: Archant Library.Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council cabinet member. Pic: Archant Library.

The deadly toxin PM2.5 was linked to 130 deaths of people aged 25 and over in Norwich during 2017, in a study.

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Conservative Miss Smith this week backed the new Environment Bill, which will set stricter targets over particulates and make clearer which organisations have responsibility of tackling air quality.

She said: "We should be protecting and improving the environment for future generations. So, I welcome this government's environmental action and ambition.

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP. Picture: Neil DidsburyChloe Smith, Norwich North MP. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"I want to explore with our local councils how we can deal with our air quality together, and I'm keen to bring public bodies together to get things done."

Kevin Maguire, cabinet member for safe and sustainable city environment at Labour-controlled City Hall, said: "We would welcome any new legislation or additional funding from central government to help us tackle this very serious issue, and keep us on the path of making sure Norwich is a liveable city for future generations.

"Air quality is a hugely complex issue which requires multi-agency support and national prioritisation to tackle effectively."

The county council takes over as the highway authority in April and the city council said it was keen to work with them and other partners.

Green city councillors previously called for traffic to be banned from passing near Norwich schools at peak times of the day, because of the harm pollution causes to youngsters.


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