Pollution – For how long is Liverpool destined to be excluded from EU sulphur emission rules?

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/08/15/sulphur-limits-for-fuel-used-by-ships-in-the-irish-sea/

Some time ago, with the help of a local environmental campaigner, I published the posting above. Now moving on to the present day an article appeared in the Times newspaper on 16th February under the heading ‘£300m port aims to revive Liverpool’s glory days‘.

Seaforth Docks and hinterland

Seaforth Docks and hinterland

The article was all about the new river berth and the ability of the Port of Liverpool to be able to take the Post-Panamax size container ships. Of course this impacts on the ability of the road and rail infrastructure to and from Bootle/Seaforth to be able to cope with what will undoubtedly be increased traffic to and from the Port. More diesel trucks and indeed diesel trains can only increase air pollution and particulates in and around the docks and I have also commented on this aspect of the revitalisation of the docks previously.

Anyway, back to the Times article because buried in the middle of it is this:- ‘Liverpool is allowed to handle older, dirtier big boats because Britain’s west coast ports are not covered by the EU’s sulphur emissions rules that prevent such vessels going into other European ports’.

So there you have it, a worrying scenario indeed and it clearly begs the question, how long will it be before Britain’s west coast ports are included in the emission rules? Frankly, from my perspective, for any ports to be excluded is unacceptable. Please don’t hang the success of our local economic prosperity on us having lower environmental standards.

Deadly diesel – Air pollution – Diesel Particulates

This posting is very much based on information supplied to me by a Lydiate resident but it is a subject close to my heart on which I have posted a number of times previously via this site. My last posting is accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/29/new-pollution-charges-for-diesel-drivers/

Page 11 of today’s Sunday Times refers to the 2001 decision to reduce tax on diesel vehicles under the heading ‘Labour admits tax blunder on deadly diesel’.

images

There is also Channel 4 Dispatches programme tomorrow at 8pm “The great car con”

Bootle Councillor Ian Maher talked about the deplorable death rates of Bootle residents during the often fractious debate at Sefton Council last Thursday about the Borough’s draft Local Plan and he was right to do so.

60,000 deaths a year in the UK are now being blamed on diesel exhaust emissions, I am told.

Although it’s cars, vans and taxis referred to in the Times, it should be remembered the high numbers of HGV’s travelling though Bootle each day to the Port of Liverpool. And of course the new Post Panamax traffic will add to this.

Although Sefton Medical authorities point to smoking as a cause of high rates of cancer in Bootle, an article read by the resident who provide this information to me, from university studies into diesel exhausts claims that diesel emissions can be masked by smoking.

Another study, so I am told, also points to HGV’s having their exhaust particulate filters removed. The resident speculates that perhaps HGV vehicles should have their exhaust emissions checked on entry to the port. Any vehicles found exceeding limits could lead to a fine/ban on owners.

There are some interesting and worrying issues here that fit with my own concerns based on things I have read. Indeed, I also recall some years ago that Merseytravel (the passenger transport authority for Merseyside) was considering a project to have diesel particulate filters added to the bus fleets operating across Merseyside. If memory serves correctly the bus companies were then resistant to the project because the filters increased diesel consumption.

I don’t claim to any kind of an expert of this matter but I have seen and heard enough to think that a significant public debate needs to had into the effects of diesel pollution and how the public can be protected from it.

Bootle and indeed elsewhere – Pollution Concerns

I have posted about pollution issues/concerns a number of times previously on this blog site but it is worth remembering that such concerns go back a while. Have a look at this excellent Bootle mural.

It is on a former railway tunnel which is now a pedestrian walkway under Merseyrail’s New Strand Station. I have published photos of many of the other murals in this tunnel on this site and on my Flickr site in recent times.

rsz_bootle_pollution_mural

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The photo above is amongst those on my Flickr site at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Air pollution campaign launched – Sheffield – But what about Bootle?

A campaign has been launched warning people of the dangers of air pollution.

Air Aware in Sheffield also gives people information on what they can do to reduce it. Poor air quality has been blamed for up to 500 premature deaths a year in Sheffield and annual health costs of £160m. Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, recycling and street scene on the city’s council, said: “Sheffield aspires to be a city where health inequalities are reduced and air is healthy for all to breathe. It would be great if everybody could use their cars a little less, and cycle or walk a little more. Even giving up the car just one day a week would make a huge difference.”

The Yorkshire Post ran this article but my interest in it goes back to the air pollution issues that I have raised before associated with the docks, Dunningsbridge Road and parts of Bootle generally. My couple of my previous postings are linked below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/07/13/air-quality-impact-of-port-expansion-seaforth-liverpool/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/05/08/diesel-engine-pollution-find-a-solution-before-bootle-becomes-a-particulates-black-spot/

Families at risk of air pollution

The Times newspaper ran this recently:-

New figures from the Government have revealed that people in most towns and cities are being exposed to illegal air pollution. A report submitted to the European Commission showed that the EU’s limit for nitrogen dioxide pollution was exceeded in 38 out of 43 areas of the UK last year. The only five areas to comply with the NO2 limit were: Scottish Borders, Highland, Northern Ireland, Preston, and Blackpool.

A big concern in my book and one that will affect the health of huge numbers of people.

Pollution worse inside cars

Scientists have found that car and taxi users are being exposed to air pollution levels inside their vehicles several times higher than those found along the roads they are driving on. The findings emerged from a study in which researchers at King’s College London equipped five MPs, all members of the environmental audit committee, with devices to measure airborne pollution levels plus a GPS unit to show where they got the highest doses. “Travelling in vehicles gave the greatest average exposure,” said Ben Barratt, a senior air quality scientist at King’s who oversaw the research. “Among the worst was when the MPs got a taxi across London.”

The Sunday Times ran this story.

This is a matter that has always interested me and this article confirms my own thoughts about the exposure of car drivers to pollution. I have got into the habit of shutting down my car’s heater/air intake when I spot a diesel vehicle in front of me. Sometimes on Bootle’s Dunningsbridge Road, for example, you can be surrounded by diesel belching lorries in a fog of fumes.