Friday, 18 April 2014

Green Party Urgent Action to Tackle Kents "Killer Pollution"

Kent Greens are  calling on KCC to take urgent action to tackle the county’s “killer pollution” problem.

According to a major report published  by Public Health England (PHE) last week, 25,000 people, aged 25 or over, died from  cardiovascular and respiratory causes  linked to long-term exposure to air pollution in 2010 (1).
Kent has the highest rate of air pollution related deaths in South East England at 745. Neighbouring Surrey had 527 deaths, East Sussex 294, West Sussex 429, and Hampshire 294(2).

Out of the 12 Kent District Councils, Thanet had  90 air pollution related deaths, the largest number in the county. Canterbury was in second place at 81. The lowest numbers of air pollution related deaths  were in Ashford with 50 and Tunbridge Wells with 46 (3).
Thanet Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver,  said “Too many people are dying prematurely because of airborne pollution produced by  cars and industry. This pollution is also a cause of respiratory illness amongst children and young people and is a major contributor to climate change. KCC needs to urgently review this unacceptable situation and review and strengthen its strategies to reduce airborne pollution and premature deaths across the county”.

“Thanet and the other Kent councils should all  be investing more money in the development of better cycling facilities, the promotion of walking and the improvement and expansion of affordable public transport. There should also be an major increase in roadside vehicle emission testing to catch and fine  polluters”.
The PHE research  was published several days after a report commissioned by Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, revealed that almost  42,000 Kent school students attend schools located within 150 metres of busy roads (roads with more than 10,000 vehicle movements per day), placing  their cardiovascular and respiratory health at  high levels of risk (4).


  1. Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England April 2014.
  2. See above report
  3. Figures extracted from 1.Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England April 2014.


Attributable  deaths





















Tonbridge and Malling


Tunbridge Wells






  1. Keith launches air pollution report in Canterbury


  1. Ian I don’t think this is caused by something that we are doing locally, I think it is much more likely to be to do with the prevailing wind direction and the industrial activity combined with the amount of road traffic upwind of any given area. Thanet has pretty much the largest landmass along the prevailing wind direction in the UK, I believe were the prevailing wind direction easterly i.e. with the wind blowing over the European landmass the uk would have an even more serious problem.

    Technology wise I think we are about three to five years away from the electric car that can be recharged in about the same time as it takes to fill up a petrol or diesel car at the moment. But I guess it will be some more years before enough cars have changed to electric to make a significant difference to pollution problem in the southeast.

  2. Ian. I suspect the causal link is oversimplified. East Germany was about the most industrially polluted air on earth but they had significantly lower rates of asthma than the West. They did have high COPD type problems I think amongst their older population. After the cold war the Russians told the West we have a major problem with a pharmaceutical industry driven health service. For example the NHS guideline to treat all childhood respiratory ailments "As asthma". If they prescribe an asthma medicine to a non asthmatic child they create an asthmatic child. One very odd thing about this was that Margate GP Dr Keogh (ex WW2 SAS) knew this a way way before the Cold War ended. And he wouldn't follow that NHS guideline. The Russians told us that in all these epidemiology studies take account of the Western culture and pharmacy created disease of chronic hyper ventilation syndrome. If you ask the average Western doctor how much water to drink and how much is too much. They'll know. If you ask them how much food to eat and how much is too much ? they will know and they will also say you might need more if you are very active. If you ask how much air (By the way pure oxygen is poisonous to human beings) the Western doctor is highly likely to say "As much as you like breathe in good air breathe out waste air deep breaths are good". And there you have it. I believe there was no asthma in Native American tribes till the whiteman (Drink too much, eat too much and breathe too much takes too much of the earths resources !) imposed his education and taught them "Breathe in deep good deep breaths" I imagine initially the Native American kids thought "But I am at rest why should I take more air than I need ?" And they were right. And if we breathe too much we shift our Ph balance and become more vulnerable to disease. Where people hyperventilate more due to stress then disease occurs more widely. If you have an affulent area breathing the same air as an impoverished area the impoverished area will show higher mortality and greater rates of disease. Richard

  3. I had an "Off the record" conversation with a very senior man from an International Pharmaceutical company. He revealed that they have a black list. Their numpty personnel dept assume that everyone on it is on it for political reasons. But in fact there are names who, unknown to them, have featured in pharmaceutical research conducted in NHS. He was talking in that case about prednisolone. Interestingly that was about the time there was a fire next door to Pfizer and some unidentified people out and about mapping the smoke distribution over the Isle of Thanet. He said "Perhaps they were mapping the pollution spread from their own factory". I said I couldn't repeat it as people would dub it conspiracy theory and he smiled. Then I asked what a major pharmaceutical company might do about sub standard pipe and vessel welding on a major project. He said "Nothing if they don't intend the plant to stay open in an area more than a few years". My mates wife was a carer and she had noticed that when the wind crossed Pfizer towards the homes of her Thanet patients that was when her elderly patients had headaches.

  4. Ian, Michael is right and the very high pollution levels experienced recently have been down to air movements off the continent and beyond, even to the inclusion of Saharan dust. Short or rebuilding the Empire and imposing colonial restrictions on the industries and transport arrangements of our subject colonies, there is not much one can do.

    Comparisons between districts are also misleading for, as Michael points out, Thanet's land mass and coast line are a factor along with many of it's population being DFLs who retired here. Breathing difficulties develop over many years of living in polluted air, so most of those pensioners so effected would have started their health problems from living in London.

  5. Thank goodness Michael and Cllr Epps have cleared up the air pollution deaths problem.

    It's nothing to do with Manston airport at all but windy Europe and other random things and nothing much can be done anyway. Hurrah!

    What if it was Manston though (there is lots of research on ill-health around airports from pollution) and what if the 90 deaths could have been reduced?

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