On Halloween Keith Taylor MEP come to give us a fright: about air pollution in cities like Oxford and towns like Watlington. At a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall he was joined by Dr. Imad Ahmed who has discovered a possible connection between traffic pollution and Alzheimer's disease, and Chris Church of Oxford FOE.
Read more to view video recordings of their speech and find out what you can do to make Oxford a breathable city.
Keith Taylor MEP spoke about the report he had commissioned, Polluted Cities: How the Government's air quality plan will impact on Brighton and Hove, Bristol, London and Oxford.
We know that small particles of carbon from car exhausts affect our lungs. You may have seen figures for PM10 (10 µm particles) and PM 2.5. Much smaller particles (less than 100 nm), nanoparticles can get in to our brains. Dr. Imad Ahmed has found more nanoparticles in the brain cells of people who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
Finally, Chris Church laid out what the Government and local councils are not doing to solve the air quality crisis, and what they and we can do about it.
In Oxfordshire there are several places where we suffer from breathing in air polluted by excessive traffic in narrow streets. Watlington suffers from air pollution created by all the lorries turning off the M40 and driving to 3 places where goods are transhipped on to smaller lorries (one in the Chiltern area of outstanding natural beauty). In Oxford high levels of nitrogen oxides are not only found in the centre but on roads like St. Clement's.
In 1995 the Green Party councillors put together a plan to reduce air pollution from traffic, including a zero emission zone. Only now, 12 years later, are the city and county councils starting to consult on gradually making a few streets in the centre of Oxford a zero emission zone over the years 2020 to 2035. The county council only started to discuss the issue at their meeting this Tuesday, when Oxford Friends of the Earth handed in a 10 m petition.