‘SCANDALOUS’ levels of pollution in Leamington need to be tackled says a business owner and former advisor to the Department of Transport.
Adrian Gains, who owns Temperance café on Bath Street, says the issue of pollution in Leamington needs to be taken more seriously.
It comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported poor air quality in the town for the third year in a row. Leamington was also among the worst in the country for air pollution.
The top three pollution hot spots in the district are underneath the railway bridge between Bath Street and Clemens Street, Jury Street in Warwick, and Barford. Heavy traffic was blamed for the high levels of pollutants.
The organisation says the poor quality puts the ‘youngest, eldest and poorest’ members of society at risk.
Mr Gains said: “The quality of air in the area is absolutely scandalous. Vulnerable people are being forced to breathe dangerously polluted air and this is causing them serious long-term health problems.
“The council has known about this issue for decades yet have done little about it. Reports are commissioned but recommendations are not allowed through. Now is the time to take the issue seriously and to consider radical change.
“Change will benefit local business, local residents and make the area a better place to visit.”
Mr Gains said reducing traffic through the town would cut down on dangerous pollution levels.
He added: “Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, York, Lincoln and Salisbury have all protected their historic centres by sensible traffic management. If they can do it, why can’t Leamington?”
His calls have been echoed by the Labour Party, which is holding a consultation into the pollution levels.
Kristie Naimo, district councillor for Brunswick, said infrastructure for walking and cycling should be improved.
She said: “We know poor air quality can have a direct correlation to life threatening health conditions, such as asthma. We also know breathing in dangerous particles can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Warwick District Council has been promising a solution since 2015 but nothing has changed.”
But the council says it has been working on lowering the levels of pollution across the district.
A spokeswoman told the Observer: “Warwick District Council has been working with partners to help to develop plans to tackle this issue. The council would be very happy to meet with the organisers of this proposed consultation to discuss their findings.”