|Air Quality Monitoring |
Station at A2 Holywood
Picture from Google Maps
As a member of North Down Borough Council I recently received a copy of the 2009 Air Quality report for North Down Borough Council. Each Local Authority across Northern Ireland is obliged to compile such a report on an annual basis.
Though it is reported that the Air Quality objectives are not being exceeded in North Down increased emissions are being recorded as a result of traffic on the A2 Bangor to Belfast Carriageway. Nitrogen Dioxide is on the rise with 32 Annual Mean Concentrations recorded by the Air Quality Monitoring station at Marine Parade, Holywood in 2008 compared to 31 in 2007 and 2006. Approximately 44,000 vehicles travel along the A2 everyday.
Whilst I accept that people need to get from A to B government needs to radically re-think it’s transportation strategy. Better incentives should be offered to people who wish to use transport solutions other than the private car such as cycling, rail and bus. Far too long government has sat back and enabled the growth of private car usage without understanding the environmental impact road traffic causes. Government also seem oblivious to the fact that there soon won’t be any more room for any more cars. Any motorist who tries to drive to Belfast from Bangor or Holywood along the A2 at 8am any weekday morning will understand what I mean.
With the Comprehensive Spending Review on the horizon, Air Quality falling and traffic on the A2 growing now is the perfect time for the government to act and rebalance transportation spending towards more sustainable solutions. Until the government acts I will continue to work with groups such as Friends of the Earth and Sustrans to create better cycling infrastructure across North Down.
Please note - This statement is issued in a personal capacity as an Alliance Party Councillor.