Friday, 7 July 2017

Maidstone's Lib Dems and Tories vote for more air pollution

At Maidstone Borough Council's Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee on 13th June, 2017, councillors agreed a draft Low Emission Strategy that they felt was reasonable to go out to consultation.

The strategy was triggered by Green pressure directly to the council both at a full council meeting and in the press after we exposed central London levels of pollution in the town.

You can read their strategy here.

The following councillors unanimously approved the draft strategy:

Councillor Clive EnglishCommittee MemberLib Dem
Councillor David BurtonChairmanConservative
Councillor James WillisCommittee MemberLib Dem
Councillor John PerrySubstitute MemberConservative
Councillor Martin CoxVice-ChairmanLib Dem
Councillor Martin RoundSubstitute MemberConservative
Councillor Mrs Val SpringettCommittee MemberConservative
Councillor Nick de WiggondeneCommittee MemberConservative
Councillor Paul WilbyCommittee MemberLib Dem
Councillor Shellina PrendergastCommittee MemberConservative
Councillor Steve MunfordCommittee MemberIndependent

So what is wrong with their strategy? Where do I start...

Their strategy is really quite pathetic, no wonder they refused to provide any information as it was being worked on! (n.b. I have complained to the Information Commissioner about their refusal to provide information under FOI)

The first and possibly biggest problem with their strategy is that there is nothing about monitoring the pollution levels. There is currently no live monitoring in Maidstone since the removal of the monitoring station by the bridge.

Their comments about getting developers to put in mitigations are pointless given that most of the development areas are currently being built on, i.e. they have missed the boat.

They mention that they want to maintain their electric vehicle charging points but I'm guessing that they don't realise that the only working public point in Maidstone is in the KCC car park and only accessible at weekends... They claim that there are points at Maidstone House, Moat Park and KCC Allington depot but these are not on Zap-Map which is where EV users find points to charge from. Maidstone House is hardly accessible to the public and Allington is out of town so I'm not sure why you would stop there to charge. The Mote Park one has been out of order for a very long time.

There is no mention of the number of deaths due to air pollution despite this being a government figure. This is really quite negligent!

Actions such as "Investigate Low Emission Standard for Buses" are meaningless.

They seem to think that £65k cost of producing a Local Plan Development Plan Document is expensive yet this is peanuts compared to the cost of EU fines or the deaths and illness from NOx.

I'm shocked to learn that MBC has a diesel pool car!

What they are missing is:

  •     road closures at peak pollution times
  •     serious investment in alternatives to cars partly funded through a congestion charge and higher parking charges
  •     20mph speed limits
  •     a significant increase in tree planting in the town centre
  •     lobbying government for a diesel scrapage scheme

No comments: