Green Party calls for reduced speed in March after study finds the town centre air is twice as polluted as Liverpool

PUBLISHED: 08:43 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 13 July 2017

Illegal air pollution levels in March is down to rising traffic levels, says Green Party member Ruth Johnson.

Illegal air pollution levels in March is down to rising traffic levels, says Green Party member Ruth Johnson.

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March town centre has more than twice the air pollution than central Liverpool, a study has found.

Ruth Johnson, the Green Party candidate for North East Cambs.Ruth Johnson, the Green Party candidate for North East Cambs.

An air quality monitoring kit set up by the Fenland Green Party in January found that the town’s air has 46.202 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic metre – over six micrograms more than the EU legal limit of 40.

That alarming figure means that March, which has a population of just over 23,000, is on par with cities such as Birmingham and Cambridge, which have populations of 1.1 million and 124,000 respectively.

Central Liverpool, on the other hand – which has a population of half a million – has just 20.166 micrograms.

Ruth Johnson, the party’s parliamentary candidate for NE Cambridgeshire, says her party has gone to Cambridgeshire County Council and attempted to reduce the speed limit in March to 20 miles per hour to stifle the pollution – but to no avail.

“There are no factories in this part of the country so we believe that pollution can only come from traffic in March,” she said.

“We presented our 20 miles per hour for March campaign to the Highways Panel at the county council but they scored it a zero.

“They have refused to acknowledge the traffic issues in March, as well as the issue of obesity.”

The Greens have also taken their campaign to March Town Council, but Ms Johnson says it wants to take more of a “holistic approach” to reducing speeding and air pollution in the town.

“March Town Council kind of listened but decided to look towards options like speed bumps,” she added.

“Reducing the speed limit would only cost around £15,000 and wouldn’t cause any disruption – all that’s needed is a few signs around town.

“If I need to go into town I will always try and walk because it makes you feel better and is a good form of exercise. It also means I haven’t had to use my car so the two go hand in hand.

“I have a young child and asthma and I moved here to get a better quality of life but with the air pollution figures we found I might have been better staying in London.”

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