Storrington air pollution a ‘silent killer’

JPCT 180913 MP Stephen Hammond right visits Storrington, with Nick Herbert left and Philip Circus. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 180913 MP Stephen Hammond right visits Storrington, with Nick Herbert left and Philip Circus. Photo by Derek Martin

People’s lives are being shortened because of traffic pollution in Storrington, a county councillor has claimed.

The recently-elected councillor for Storrington division, Philip Circus, made his comments in response to new research and claims by villagers.

Addressing Pieter Montyn, the cabinet member for highways and transport, Mr Circus said at a Full Council meeting on Friday: “What I would like to ask the cabinet member is when he has further meetings with the Highways Agency and MPs and so forth he will stress the very real health problems that are being caused to my residents in Storrington.

“During the recent election campaign I met a number of people who had developed asthma as a result of the really serious air quality problems in Storrington. The truth of the matter is this is not just about congestion and traffic issues which can sound a bit remote, this is about people’s lives being shortened.”

In response, Mr Montyn said that the Highways Agency was aware of the situation and was currently gathering evidence.

After the meeting, asthma sufferer and Storrington resident Jenny Powell said: “I was diagnosed with asthma and there isn’t a family history and I don’t smoke.

“When this happened I became aware of the situation with traffic pollution in Storrington and the developments that are contributing to this.”

Now taking a scarf with her onto the High Street, Mrs Powell will cover her face when she sees traffic backed up.

“My chest feels as though it’s being gripped in a vice. If this persists I have to use a ventilator inhailer,” added the 72-year-old.

Manley’s Hill resident, Tim Adams, said that ‘traffic makes a lot of noise but the pollution is a silent killer’.

“It has affected my health. Now it takes me longer to get over a chest complaint. People are going to go down in five or ten years’ time because of this.”

A press release from the ‘International Agency for Research on Cancer’ (IARC) stated ‘outdoor air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths’. An IARC spokesperson said: “Air pollution is already known to increase risks for a wide range of diseases, such as respiratory and heart diseases.”

Pictured, right, Philip Circus, middle, on his recent election campaign standing in Storrington High Street with MP Nick Herbert, left, and Transport Minister Stephen Hammond