So there I am reading the newsletter of Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, all about London’s air quality. Earlier this week the worst sites for air pollution in London were revealed. At all but one of the 47 monitoring stations across London the level of nitrogen dioxide, NO2, consistently exceeds current air quality standards and the level of PM10 particulate matter is exceeding current standards at 6 sites.
Yet in the same week she has received confirmation from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the Government is likely to seek extended compliance deadlines for the pollutants NO2 and PM10, which have grave impacts on human health. If the European Commission approves the Government's request to delay it would allow a further five years from 2010 for compliance.
You can check out the monitoring site at Fullwell Cross roundabout here.
So then I read that in this same week Georgina Down's landmark High Court action against the UK Government begins.
"People move to the countryside thinking it will be a healthy environment to bring up their children and do not know about the dangers and risks inherent in the spraying of poisonous chemicals on surrounding fields, until they themselves suffer adverse effects on their health"
‘Georgina Downs runs the UK Pesticides Campaign to highlight the adverse health and environmental effects of pesticides. She has lived next to regularly sprayed fields for 22 years and has long-standing health problems. Georgina was the first to identify serious fundamental flaws regarding the bystander risk assessment and for the last five years has presented a case to the UK Government and the European Commission for a change in the regulations and legislation governing crop spraying.
She has called for an immediate ban on crop-spraying and the use of pesticides near people's homes, schools, workplaces and any other places of human habitation, and for direct public access to the information on the chemicals sprayed on crops.
Ms. Downs has a database of approximately 900 people, compiled since early 2001. The acute ill-health effects that are commonly reported to Ms. Downs by people in agricultural areas include sore throats, burning eyes, nose, skin, blisters, headaches, dizziness, nausea, flu-type illnesses, amongst other things. The most common chronic long-term illnesses and diseases reported include clusters of various cancers, leukaemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease and ME, asthma, allergies, along with many other medical conditions. ‘