On May 12 (online) and May 13 (print edition) the Herald ran a story saying that a World Health Organisation report had found that ‘Eastbourne is one of 10 major UK towns and cities which are failing to meet standards for fine particle air pollution’. The online article is illustrated by a picture of heavy traffic, and you printed a comment from Friends of the Earth about vehicle pollution and the need for Clean Air Zones.
I would not for a moment argue against the need for a reduction in vehicle pollution, and gave up my car in London 35 years ago because I didn’t want to be part of the problem. But this story defies all common sense, since anyone knows the air in Eastbourne is usually very pleasant and there are such strong prevailing south-westerly winds that the bushes on the downs are all leaning over, so pollution from London or the continent would be blown away.
Moreover if vehicle emissions were the main reason for these high pollution readings, there would surely be hundreds of other towns with worse results. Your follow-up article printed on May 20 does deal with Eastbourne Council’s entirely different findings but again repeats the Friends of the Earth claims that Eastbourne needs a Clean Air Zone to solve this problem.
Surprisingly, however, your reporter seems to have made no attempt to follow up the most interesting letter from Professor Tom Sanders [May 20]. His explanation sounds much more convincing: that these high readings occur when there is an east wind as a result of industrial emissions in northern France, Belgium and Holland and that the lack of air monitoring stations further east along this stretch of coast gives the false impression that this problem is something specifically to do with Eastbourne.
St John’s Road
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