Campaign is launched over Portsmouth air pollution

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A CAMPAIGN has been launched against plans that could see Portmouth’s air pollution monitoring stations scaled back.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is considering removing laws that say local authorities have to assess air quality, as it looks to find better ways of meeting EU pollution limits.

Annelise Dodds with the anti-pollution petition and fellow Labour members.'''Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (132762-1)

Annelise Dodds with the anti-pollution petition and fellow Labour members.'''Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (132762-1)

Many cities across the country have higher than normal pollution levels – and the government thinks something more practical could be done to address the issue rather than just recording and assessing data.

On Saturday, Labour party members went out with a petition in the hope people would agree that facilities such as the four that are based in the city were important.

More than 50 names were collected and the process will be repeated in the next few weeks. Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘It’s not the most obvious issue for people – that is until you mention tens of thousands of people die every year because of respiratory problems and problems that can be attributed to poor air quality.’

The day was part of Labour’s south-east MEP candidate Anneliese Dodds’ campaign as she goes to different parts of the south-east with petitions and talks about the issue. She said: ‘It would be more difficult for local authorities to take practical action if they didn’t have data on the extent of pollution in the first place. These monitoring stations have been running for many years and they provide information on how things have developed in an area over time.’

Once enough names are collected, all the petitions will be sent to Defra in the hope they will be considered.

Ugne Lazauskaite, 23, of Southsea, who signed the petition, said: ‘We spend so much time in the city these days working. Spending so much time in a polluted area means that is a big risk to our health.’

The News reported last month that five areas in the city exceed the EU limits for nitrogen dioxide.