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LOCAL ELECTION: Air quality in the Royal Borough

David Lee

Scrap speed bumps to cut air pollution?

Recent data released by Public Health England has revealed that air pollution causes six in every 100 deaths of people aged 30 and over in Windsor and Maidenhead.

As part of a series of election features in the run up to the local ballot on May 2, the Advertiser and Express asked the political parties in the area what steps need to be taken to reduce pollution in the Royal Borough.


Conservatives 

Cllr David Coppinger (Con,Bray) lead member for planning, health and sustainability

Cllr Marion Mills (Con, Belmont)

Conservatives at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are committed to putting residents first when planning for the future.

One of our key strategies is sustainability. 

Sustainability is not just a concept but it is integral to our policies and infrastructure development.   

Conservatives at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are pledging to:

  • Enhance cycle routes
  • Support a ‘better not bigger’ Heathrow airport
  • Promote on- street and car park EV charging points

Air quality is an important issue in parts of the borough.

Therefore we are investing in our cycle network by securing Local Enterprise Funding for cycle routes in Maidenhead and plan to spend £2m on cycling routes per annum around the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

We are working to improve traffic flows with designs to improve the layouts of six key roundabouts in Maidenhead and a joint project with Surrey and South Bucks to improve flows on the A308.

RBWM is committed to legal action against a third runway on grounds of air quality.

Electric vehicle charging points are available at York House and will be in all new car parks, including Braywick Leisure Centre.

One of the key issues for many of our residents, especially those living in houses without dedicated parking, is that they have nowhere to charge their car overnight.

A trial in Alma Road Windsor has begun with Connected Kerb.

This innovative scheme offers a range of styles of charging points, wireless connection for payment and monitoring usage and the benefit of super fast broadband in the street and for adjacent houses. 

We will continue to pursue sustainable policies to further our commitment to the environment and the future of our residents.


The Borough First

Richard Wawman, TBF candidate for St Mary's Ward, Maidenhead

Air pollution is the invisible killer and many residents are not sufficiently aware.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has five air quality management areas – two in Windsor, one each in Maidenhead, Bray and Wraysbury.

They cover densely populated areas including schools and three have been in existence for 10 years.

We promise to review the related RBWM plans and make improvements quickly, including planting pollutant-grabbing trees.

We should strive to reduce pollution as much as possible because any pollution damages health.

In RBWM, our biggest problem is traffic and its pollution is worst during decelerating and accelerating, so TBF will review traffic-calming measures aiming to reduce pollution.

TBF will try hard to improve the borough’s transport infra-structure by:

  • Better integrating the buses and our train stations
  • Working with the bus companies to reduce their emissions and increase their frequency
  • Accelerating the implementation of the Cycle Action Plan

TBF will:

  • Work with partners to inform and educate residents
  • Encourage the use of electric vehicles by providing free car parking and more charging points
  • Investigate pollution hot spots and find ways to improve flow
  • Encourage all new build homes to have electric charging points
  • Scrutinise new builds and develop-ment for air pollution impact

Childrens’ lungs haven’t fully developed and theirs are affected most.

They can suffer an increase in child psychotic episodes. So TBF will work with schools to encourage them to inform pupils of the sources and risks of air pollution with the intention they will influence their parents, promote walking and cycling to school, car sharing, and ‘no idling’ signs during pick up/drop off.


Labour

Rona Noble, women's officer for the Maidenhead Labour Party

It was recently reported  that ‘data reveals six in every 100 deaths in Windsor and Maidenhead linked to pollution’. 

Heart disease, strokes, asthma and lung cancer are all linked to air pollution and children are most vulnerable, suffering damage to lung development.   

Maidenhead Labour Party is offering some solutions to this often invisible threat to our wellbeing.

It should be a priority to create better walking and cycling routes to encourage local residents to use these non-polluting modes of transport that contribute to overall fitness. 

Two thirds of all car journeys are of less than five miles, so reducing car use will help lower pollution hot spots around town.

School transport should be promoted in environmentally friendly vehicles.   

Electric cars can be encouraged with convenient charging points. 

Clean cheap and frequent community buses that link places such as Norden Farm Centre for the Arts with the town centre will give many advantages to local residents as well as lowering air pollution.  

There are innovative ways of funding, such as the Nottingham scheme that has a workplace parking levy of £400 per parking space for businesses with more than 10 car park spaces. 

This money is ring- fenced to fund public transport. 

More people will be living and driving in the borough in the coming years but action to tackle congestion and lower pollution will make the borough a better environment in which to live. 

Maidenhead Labour party is campaigning in the local elections on May 2 for cleaner air for all our residents.


Liberal Democrats

Joshua Reynolds, candidate for Furze Platt Ward

Karen Davies, candidate for Clewer East Ward

Road transport is responsible for 80 per cent of roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions and the best way to mitigate this is to promote sustainable methods of transport.

Services which run later into the evening will encourage commuters to use them and half-hourly services, where appropriate, will be more convenient for all.

We’ll also be promoting the development of an electric bus fleet for Windsor and Maidenhead.

For shorter journeys, we need to make cycling more attractive, with safe, segregated cycle lanes across the borough, along with more secure cycle storage.

We are open to the idea of bike hire schemes, as long as they are viable, and we will work with local charities such as Maidenhead Cycle Hub to promote cycling skills and safety.

We’ll encourage residents to consider electric vehicles by implementing charging points both in popular in-town locations and on residential streets, using existing street lighting infrastructure where possible to avoid cluttering the pavement.

We’re also proposing discounted parking fees for electric vehicles.

Finally, there are occasions where people would like to take the bus but it just doesn’t run to where they’re going. Therefore an on-demand bus service will ensure that people who do not need to use their cars are not forced to do so.

With a large number of developments taking place in the Royal Borough, we have a fantastic opportunity to change the way we work on managing traffic, and tackle air pollution systematically.

We want to see sustainability built into future developments, and this is why it is so important to consider infrastructure as an integral part of the Borough Local Plan (BLP), not as an afterthought.

An increasing population should not lead inevitably to increased pollution.

We believe that environmentally- friendly planning and design, combined with a proactive approach to reducing emissions, can bring about a measurable improvement in air quality.

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