LETTER: Urging action on poor air quality

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It was interesting to see, from the excellent article on page four of the WSCT, that Nick Herbert is going to take up the issue of Air Quality (AQ), which I have urged him to do more than once since October, but with no response.

I wrote to him, reminding him of the Rydon meeting that he attended, when a local GP said that air pollution has had and will have an impact, on lives. Since then, the BMA seems to have become concerned that heart attacks can result from AQ levels lower than the statutory limit.

In 2011, Ministers transferred the liability for financial penalties arising from poor AQ, to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) who cause or contribute to pollution. Then in 2012, levels of pollution in Storrington were found to be 40 per cent higher than the NO2 legal limit.

Since 2012, a further 500 houses have been approved in and around the village, probably increasing the number of Storrington shoppers by around 1,000 and it is clearly unlikely that HDC will be able to meet the legal limit by 2015, which it is mandated to do.

Despite that we saw HDC’s refusal of the RMC site application overturned at appeal and LPAs are clearly expected to accept speculative development to catch up with their five year (population based) land supply, even though even small increases in pollution are counter to the objectives of the AQ action plan.

So LPAs are between the rock and the hard place, balancing the possibility of having to pay costs if they fail to permit inappropriate development, against the possibility of fines for allowing pollution to increase, along with the numbers of those exposed to it.

So I again urge Mr Herbert to take decisive action to resolve this inequity and to restore local democracy, as we were promised, in 2011 under Localism, which was to ‘put elected councillors back in charge, accountable to local people via the ballot box’.

If he can’t do that, then we know who will be accountable in 2015.

ROGER ARTHUR

(UKIP) Horsham district councillor for Chanctonbury ward and UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Horsham