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9th July 2019 | Climate Change, Environment, Uncategorised

Government must stop dragging feet on air pollution: Greens

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The Green Party has called on Government to act on new evidence pointing to high levels of pollution from transport in Dublin’s Inner City.

The Party had previously called for improved monitoring of air quality in city centre areas.

Dublin City Green Party Councillors are sending a letter to Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan requesting immediate action and the development of an air quality action plan.

Cllr David Healy, Green Party spokesperson on climate, said that investment in motorways has only encouraged more cars to stay on the road.

“We should revise the policy of promoting driving. We need to encourage people to walk, increase cycling infrastructure and invest in public transport.

“While I welcome getting this information now, we have to ask why it has taken so long for it to be made public. The tests were done in 2016 and 2017. In the meantime, our government is dragging its heels on implementing a clean air strategy and taking action against burning smoky coal.”

Ciarán Cuffe, MEP for Dublin, said: “This new evidence underpins the need to invest in public transport, walking and cycling in Dublin City.  The Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD should give Local Authorities the power to introduce low emission zones, and such zones should be introduced without delay in Dublin’s inner city. There is a clear link between air quality and respiratory complaints, especially for children and older people. It is unacceptable that car drivers are being prioritised over the health of inner-city communities.

“In addition, Minister Bruton should ensure more air monitoring stations are provided in the inner city. There is currently no air monitoring in Dublin’s North Inner City, a community of 70,000 residents. This is unacceptable. Areas with high densities of people, poverty, and traffic should be prioritised.

“The European Union wants high air quality in our cities and towns. They must now step up to the mark and act.”

Cllr Michael Pidgeon, Chair of Dublin City Council’s Environment Committee, said: “I’ve worked on air quality policy in London’s City Hall. The UK capital and other cities are lightyears ahead of Dublin. Shenzen has an all-electric bus network. Oslo has removed city centre on-street parking. Brussels offers free public transport during a pollution spike.

“If we do nothing, the problem will only worsen and the lungs of Dubliners – particularly children – will pay the price. We can’t allow our city to be slowly strangled by car emissions.”

Cllr Donna Cooney, who previously raised concerns around air quality in the Dublin Port Tunnel, said:
“I raised the issue of air quality and the impact of the EU ambient air quality directive in the consultation for the Dublin Port Tunnel as far back as the ‘90s. HGVs are one of the main culprits for NO2 and the concentrations in the tunnel are a serious concern. Children and older people are most at risk from poor air quality.”