Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth has said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s (Defra) consultation on draft plans to improve air quality is inadequate saying pollution is much worse than recorded.
The green group say figures from Brighton and Hove City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan show levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city are up to twice the legal limit.
Large parts of the city centre are within an air quality management zone with the worst areas of pollution North Street, Western Road and the Clock Tower according to the council stats.
But Defra are currently consulting on Government plans to improve air quality and said in their report levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city are below the legal limit.
They say local authority monitoring stations are not part of their national network and do not meet the same monitoring requirements – which could explain the data differences.
The Friends of the Earth group say this shows a new strategy needs to be developed adding their approach “lacks any urgency”.
Chris Todd, planning and transport campaigner for BHFOE, said: “The Supreme Court ruled this year that the Government needed to come up with a new action plan to reduce air pollution ‘as soon as possible’.”
Defra’s draft plan had already been highly criticised before the latest scandals emerged but now it is completely discredited.”Based as it is on dodgy statistics, the plan should be binned and Defra forced to come up with something that will do the job properly and quickly.”A Defra spokesman said: “Tackling air pollution is a priority for this Government and we are working with local authorities and members of the public on how to make our nation cleaner.
“Our plans are based on the best available and most reliable data in line with legal requirements and international standards.“Brighton is forecast to fall into compliance by 2020 once measures set out in the Air Quality plan, including improved traffic flows and the low emission zone for buses, have been implemented.”