PORTSMOUTH has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the south east.
According the Daily Air Quality Index, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), air pollution in south east England is at level eight – the highest level is 10.
Portsmouth city has a level of eight – the third highest in the region.
The city’s Lord Mayor Councillor Lynne Stagg, the former traffic and transportation lead, said she is not surprised at this rating.
She said: ‘I’m not surprised, as we have far too many vehicles on the road in a small area.
‘It’s very congested, so not only do we have a high volume of cars, the slowness of traffic moving does not help.
‘There’s no easy solution, but we do need to cut down on the number of cars on the road.
‘Things like electric and hybrid cars would also help.’
According to Defra at this level of pollution government advice states: ‘Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.’
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for south east England, and a clean air campaigner, said: ‘This smog episode highlights the fact the government simply isn’t doing enough on air pollution in the UK.
‘The fact people in Portsmouth with health problems could be forced to stay indoors and avoid exercise exposes much more needs to be done by the government and council to cut pollution levels.
‘We know most air pollution is caused by road vehicles and councils need to work to reduce the amount of traffic in our city centres.
‘Nobody should be forced to stay indoors because of air pollution. That’s why we need to cut the amount of petrol-fuelled vehicles on our city centre roads and move towards cleaner transport solutions.’