Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) had pushed for Bexley’s Air Quality to be monitored and a report prepared. “Growth is going to produce more pollution.” He said he couldn’t find an Air Quality Action Plan in the report. The borough has three air quality monitoring stations, all in the North and they are funded by Cory and Thames Water. There is another monitor just across the borough border in Falconwood to which Bexley has data access. Referring to Transport for London, Stefano was less than complimentary about ‘Boris buses’ and “buses are not as environmentally friendly as they should be”.
The Council’s report said that “there are no practical measures that the Council can implement to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations” but Councillor John Davey said he disagreed. Councillor Davey seemed to be on the side of the motorist in thinking that traffic congestion is a big contributor to pollution. He wanted better traffic management avoiding the forced speeding up and slowing down and humps and unnecessary traffic lights.
In 2009 Councillor Davey (Conservative, Crayford) told me he thought traffic planning in Bexley was “bonkers” which was seized upon as the name of this website, it would appear he has not changed his tune.
The Deputy Director for Public Realm said that the paragraph quoted was intended to refer to the A2 area over which the borough has no control but he was otherwise inclined to agree with John Davey but diesel pollution had been a big problem too.
Councillor Seán Newman said that the Brexit vote would lead to “the loss of air quality safeguards” - more sniggers from certain Tories - and concluded that there must be greater use of public transport. Not one of his colleague's polluting buses presumably. The Chairman said that for some people a car or van is the only choice and it is.
Councillor Colin Tandy said he was “seriously worried by the air quality question but hadn’t got an answer”. Abraham Lincoln would be proud.
The Thamesmead East and Erith Councillors said that Thames Water’s sewage plant was still emitting bad smells and Councillor Val Clark related how she descended into the pollution zone when she drove down from Upper Belvedere.
The report claimed that it was produced only for “information and discussion” and said little other than that Nitrogen Dioxide and particulate levels have very slightly improved in Bexley over the past ten years except near the A2 road. The conclusion was that nothing can be done about anything, Councillor Davey’s comments will change nothing.
Bexley Council’s 2014 report on air pollution was a far more comprehensive document than the latest one and referred to many more monitoring stations, none of which appear to exist any more if the current report is accurate.