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  • Writer's pictureChideock Bypass

Air Quality Sensors Deployed Around UK's First Prospective Zero Emission Zone. WHY NOT CHIDEOCK?

Chideock Bypass Working Group (CBWG) wish to draw attention to the article below from Earthsense, particularly noting that this project is funded by Highways England, the same organisation that is responsible for the A35 through Chideock. Chideock has repeatedly pleaded for the same type of monitoring of pollution in the Village for at least the last four years. However Highways England, Dorset Council, DfT and Defra have either not bothered to reply or have given unconvincing reasons (financial in the case of Dorset Council) why they cannot supply this monitoring.

In the meantime, the Public Health of Chideock Residents and visitors is being put at risk by the highest concentration of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the whole of the UK caused by too much traffic. In addition to the NO2 pollution Chideock has an unknown risk, namely particulates of 2.5micron (PM2.5) which is believed to cause lung, dementia and MS problems. CBWG has long argued that the steep slopes of Chideock Hill (up to 15% gradient) is a problem where vehicles including HGV’s with full loads (44tonnes total) have to navigate their way around bends for just under a mile until they reach a small level section at Chideock Bridge. Then immediately the slope rises again . It is this one mile section that causes most concern about  PM 2.5, because it is here that these vehicles are continually applying their brakes for almost one mile creating great heat on the brake pads. These pads can vary from trucks using brake pads made of semi -metallic (causing the most dust), to others using Ceramic (less dusty) with added copper or Organic (more dusty), very few have steel/iron drums. Asbestos is no longer used, but because copper is an environmental hazard it will be banned by 2025. The pads receive most of the wear:

  • Semi-metallic are made of metal shavings of iron, copper steel, graphite, brass all bonded together with a resin.

  • Ceramic are made of ceramics and other fibres resin bonded together.

  • Organic are made of glass, rubber, Kevlar all bonded together with resin.

So Chideock is getting a dangerous ‘pollutant soup" of the above materials in a minute form that cannot be seen blowing about or dropping to the ground. Without specific monitoring there can be no idea of where these particulates go or what the density is.  Imagine breathing in this "soup" of  tiny metal, rubber, resin and other fibres. It is NOT good for the lungs. The Legal limit currently for these particulates is 30 Microgrammes per cubic metre of air. But by 2030 the UK Government will adopt the WHO guidelines of 20 Microgrammes per cubic M3 metre of air (UGM3), There appears to be a relationship between the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide and PM2.5, and when this relationship is applied to the recorded NO2 results for Chideock it shows potential high (if not illegal) levels of PM2.5. Also in addition to the particulates themselves the rubber tyres on the vehicles are getting hotter over the one mile of the steep downward journey giving off the smell of burning rubber, together with minute rubber marbles. So to sum up there are the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the UK on one side of Chideock Hill with associated pm2.5; and on the other side a “soup" of dangerous pm2.5, giving off noxious smells the level of which cannot be ascertained because nobody will do anything to monitor it. Therefore CBWG would like Dorset Council and / or DEFRA to install these Zephyr Air Quality Sensors (even if only for a trial period) to finally ascertain the level of PM2.5 in the village and whether it is, indeed like the NO2 pollution, at an illegal level.

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