Friday 2 May 2014

New pollution survey in South East London

Some members of Deptford Is... took part in a Citizen Science air pollution survey in January and February, along with other local residents and supporters of the Don't Dump On Deptford's Heart campaign. Unfortunately it took two months for the lab to process the results, so we didn't get them back in time to support the oral evidence provided by objectors at the Convoys Wharf hearing at City Hall on March 31st.

Under DEFRA guidelines and with assistance from the Network for Clean Air, we put up diffusion tubes all over Deptford to measure the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. At the same time, the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign put up tubes up across Greenwich borough and parts of Lewisham. The residents both paid for and conducted the survey with additional funding from local charity Deptford First via Joan Ruddock MP.

We have now published the results and the figures are horrifying. Almost every site we monitored is over the EU legal limit of 40µg/m³. Many were double the legal limit.

With so much construction due to take place in the next few years, pollution levels are set to soar and threaten the health of all who live, work and study here. Hundreds more construction vehicles will be using the A200, Deptford Church Street and the A2. But developers in Deptford are in a unique position to use the river to transport spoil and materials, and must be encouraged to do so at all costs.

NO2 levels on the A200 (Creek Road and Evelyn Street) were as high as 74µg/m³. At Deptford Park School the reading was 68µg/m³. The roads that will be used by Convoys construction vehicles are already highly polluted (55µg/m³ at Grove Street and 40µg/m³ at New King Street). The developer must be forced to use the river and do everything within their power to avoid creating even more pollution. Other new construction projects on Evelyn Street and on the Southwark borders should be taken into consideration.

The A2 in Deptford is even worse, with readings of 95, 98 and 110µg/m³ – well over twice the legal limit! Deptford Church Street had readings as high has 84µg/m³ where it meets the A2. If the Thames Tunnel proposal on Deptford Church St goes ahead, the planned partial road closure will cause gridlock. The proposals also include 17,400 lorry movements on Deptford Church Street over three years. Ironically, at Thames Water's originally preferred site by the river at Glashier Street, the pollution level was very low (only 14µg/m³).

Developers on Creekside must be made to use Deptford Creek rather than increase pollution on Creekside and Deptford Church Street. Proposals for 90 HGV movements a day along Creekside at one development will endanger the lives of local residents, and these vehicles will exit Creekside onto Deptford Church Street where the reading was 62µg/m³.

In due course, we plan to combine these figures with local authority data to get a fuller picture of air pollution across the area. The results have also been passed to Lewisham Planners who are in continuing discussions with the GLA and Hutchison Whampoa. The GLA must be made aware of the horrific cummulative impact of all the construction work going on in Deptford to inform their conversations with the developer.

You can see the Deptford results here.  
The Greenwich & Lewisham results are here. 
Both are combined in a map on the No to Silvertown website.

The No to Silvertown campaigners believe that the proposed Silvertown Tunnel will make the problems caused by the Blackwall Tunnel worse rather than better. TfL has predicted a 20% increase in traffic using the tunnel approaches if the tunnel is built, while the Mayor of London has said the capacity will be doubled. Although Deptford's traffic problems are presently exacerbated by whatever goes wrong on the A102, No to Silvertown argue that increasing capacity there can only make matters worse for us.