Campaigners will be taking to Hampden Park railway crossing in a rally to highlight the dangers of air pollution this Clean Air Day.
Members of Eastbourne Friends of the Earth will gather at the crossing from 3pm on Thursday (June 21) to encourage motorists to turn their engines off as they wait for the barriers to rise.
A spokesperson for FoE said, “Many drivers leave their engines idling instead of switching them off – despite official advice to do so if traffic is stationary for more than a few minutes, which it usually is at the very busy Hampden Park crossing, where 16 trains an hour now pass through.
“Stationary vehicles that keep engines running for minutes on end expose nearby residents, pedestrians, and drivers themselves, to high levels of toxic exhaust gases that have a significant harmful effect upon physical health, especially upon the health and development of children.”
The group will also be marking Clean Air Day by handing over an air monitor, built by Clean Air Eastbourne’s volunteers, to Bourne School that morning.
The monitor is free for the school, thanks to a grant for Clean Air Eastbourne’s project in the Devonshire West area from the Devonshire West Big Local.
The monitor will measure particulates (very small air particles). According to Public Health England, about 61 people a year in Eastbourne die prematurely from particulate air pollution, most of which, at street level, comes from local diesel traffic.
A Clean Air Schools Pack produced by Friends of the Earth will also be handed over to the school.
This comes as a motion on air pollution that will be presented to the full council of East Sussex County Council on July 10.
Part of the motion says, “As there is no known safe limit for some pollutants, The Council will continue to take action to further reduce pollution levels to at least recommended World Health Organisation levels, particularly in locations where there is a concentration of vulnerable people (e.g. around schools).”
Andrew Durling, Co-ordinator for Eastbourne FoE said, “We in Eastbourne Friends of the Earth hope that this motion will be passed by full council, as air pollution in Eastbourne often does exceed World Health Organisation levels, a fact that is confirmed by data from Clean Air Eastbourne’s network of sensors.
“There are many sources of air pollution, but the main one locally comes from diesel traffic, especially along some of Eastbourne’s busiest roads, and in traffic queues which can build up at places like the Hampden Park railway crossing.
“It’s time for more action to make the air cleaner in Eastbourne for everybody’s sake, especially around local schools.
“We, together with other local groups, regularly meet with Eastbourne Borough Council to discuss what action can be taken locally”.