Canterbury Society takes action against air pollution

‘Turn off those engines: save money and keep healthy’.

This was the headline for a Canterbury Society initiative which aimed to get people to turn off their car engines whilst waiting at the level crossings in St Dunstan’s Street and Sturry. Research has suggested that the air quality in the city is very poor and is getting worse.  Work by Professor Stephen Peckham, at the University of Kent, has shown that this year, ozone and particulate levels look set to break national limits yet again, posing a threat to the health and wellbeing of children, and of residents with asthma and respiratory diseases.

The Canterbury Society has been concerned about this issue for some time. Since much pollution is produced by stationary cars, getting drivers to turn off their engines seemed like one thing which might improve the situation. St Dunstan’s Street is a black spot for pollution because it combines high levels of traffic with regular delays created by the level crossing. Over a three week period nearly 30 volunteers came to help and handed out around 500 leaflets to drivers waiting for the level crossing gates to open. 

Nick Blake, the organizer of the project said: "Most people responded very positively to our suggestion that they turned off their engines at the crossing and agreed that improving air quality was an important issue". 

Jan Pahl, chair of the Canterbury Society, said, ‘We have been arguing for some time that the City Council should set up a Sustainable Travel Forum to lead on air pollution and congestion in the city: we were delighted that in October 2017 the Forum was finally agreed’.