High levels of air pollution are likely to be harming Storrington residents, according to a Government study for the south east of England.
According to the Daily Air Quality Index, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), air pollution in towns and villages across the south east is at Level 8 or higher with Storrington at Level 9 - just one point off the worst possible level.
Storrington division county councillor Philip Circus said: “These figures show the situation in Storrington to be not just a local disgrace but a national disgrace and we are pressing the government to address these air quality issues rather than pay fines to the European Commission for breach of EU emission rules.”
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert said: “This level of air pollution in Storrington is completely unacceptable, and for a village in the Downlands to have the second worst air quality in the whole of the South East shows that something is wrong.
“We have to tackle traffic levels through the village, which is why the Arundel by-pass to stop rat-running through the Downs is so important as a long-term solution. And we cannot allow continued development, just increasing the traffic and pollution levels, while this problem persists.”
The Government survey follows a string of development applications for Storrington that residents are fighting to oppose, including a for 102 homes at Melton Drive, which has gone to appeal.
A Horsham District Council (HDC) representative said: “HDC, West Sussex County Council and the local parish councils are working closely together on an action plan to reduce pollution in Storrington. An Air Quality Management Area was declared by the Council in 2010 due to high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. Pollution in the village is primarily down to the high traffic volumes and congestion on narrow roads close to homes. Storrington hosts one of 105 Defra Automatic Urban and Rural Network monitoring stations as part of the ongoing efforts to address the local air quality issues within the village.”
Mr Circus revealed that a vehicle licence plate recognition device will be brought in to calculate the level of emissions being released into Storrington.
A spokesperson for DEFRA said: “Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.”
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England and a clean air campaigner, said: “This smog episode poses a serious threat to my constituents and I urge everyone, especially those with health problems, to follow Government guidelines in order to keep safe.”