The impact of air pollution is rising up rapidly up the agenda and Cricket Green is not immune.
With support from Friends of the Earth we have been conducting some air quality trials in the area and the results are concerning.
We chose three locations at which to measure air quality – the busy road junction by the White Hart at Jubilee Corner; where Church Road reaches Lower Green and near the old milestone by Elm Lodge.
We set out ‘diffusion tubes’ for 20 days to measure pollution levels for nitrogen dioxide.
High levels of nitrogen dioxide are known to inflame the lining of the lung and reduce immunity to lung infections such as bronchitis. The tubes were sent off to a laboratory for analysis and gave the following results:
By White Hart 67.0µg/m3
Church Road/Lower Green West 27.1µg/m3
By Elm Lodge 41.8µg/m3
Air pollution is measured in µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre)
For the period of our trials (in August 2016) two of the sites exceeded the European legal mean annual limit for nitrogen dioxide at 40µg/m3
We cannot yet say that air pollution in Cricket Green is breaking legal limits as we ran the trials for too short a period of time. They are a snapshot and air pollution varies throughout the year as a result of the seasons, weather patterns, traffic levels and other events.
What we can say is that it isn’t looking good. While more results are needed, we think it is time to start taking action to avoid even more problems in the future. The solutions aren’t easy – traffic levels in the area are very high – but with effort they can found and as a start we think there’s merit in extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) already planned for central London to cover a much larger area.
We are keen to extend this study further, and we are supporting Mitcham Society in its own efforts to monitor pollution levels at Mitcham Fair Green. Let us know if you would like to get involved.