As previously reported, we teamed up with the No To Silvertown Tunnel campaign and the Network for Clean Air to conduct a Citizen Science air pollution study in January and February. The results are now out and may come as no suprise to locals.
In the absence of any proper and thorough results from our local authorities, DDoDH put up tubes to measure levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) at various sites in Deptford, New Cross, Rotherhithe and Greenwich, with particular focus on, of course, Deptford Church Street, around the site of Thames Tunnel’s proposed 17mx48m shaft on Crossfields Green.
The results show we are already living with air pollution levels of over double the European legal limit of 40µg/m³.
At New Cross, levels were as high as 110µg/m³! On Deptford Church Street the readings averaged in the 60s, and were higher at the junctions with Creek Road (74µg/m³) and Deptford Broadway (84µg/m³).
Although levels were inevitably over twice the EU legal limit at major junctions on the A2 and A202, the surprising results were how high the readings were in Deptford High Street, Creekside and inside Crossfields Estate. At the Bird’s Nest roundabout on Deptford Church Street, the reading was 62µg/m³.
We have sent the results to the Planning Inspectorate who are in the process of writing up their recommendations for the Secretary of State on the Thames Tunnel plans. They have replied to say that because the consultation period has closed they are unable to include the information in their report but will forward the evidence to the Secretary of State with their recommendations.
We have pointed out that these results show Deptford Church Street is already heavily polluted. Further pollution will be created by additional lorry movements and reducing the dual carriageway to two lanes. Thames Tunnel’s plans include 17,400 HGV movements over three years, and the partial closure of Deptford Church Street will cause traffic to slow down and use alternative roads.
At times of high congestion when there is an accident on the surrounding road network, smaller roads such as Creekside and Deptford High Street will be used by drivers to escape the gridlock.
And of course new developments such as those proposed for Creekside and the now Boris-approved massive Convoys Wharf will mean hundreds more diesel-fueled Concrete Mixers and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) using Deptford Church Street, Creek Road and the A2.
As is common with most developments, those concrete mixers will do as they’re designed, and sit at the site with their engines running (until the concrete stops mixing!)…outside St Joseph’s School, which currently survives just on the legal pollution level of 40µg/m³.
No matter how much Thames Water attempts to mitigate their plans by building screens (or whatever they propose) to protect the school, no parent or child will be safe outside the school since within a few yards the pollution levels increase dramatically. It’s not as bad as at the other schools, but it’s about to get worse.
However, our measurement of the NO2 levels at Thames Water’s original chosen site on the river, show that Glashier Street is almost pollution free at 14µg/m³. This proves it is a safer site for Deptford as a whole.
There would be no requirement to partially close Deptford Church Street if Glashier Street were used, and although Thames Water claims they will still need to use a great number of HGVs, these results show they should make every effort to use the river to transport spoil and materials to avoid impacting on our local main roads.
Perhaps worst of all, these results show NO2 levels are above EU safety limits at most of our schools: 98µg/m³ at Addey & Stanhope, 68µg/m³ at Deptford Park, 62µg/m³ at Deptford Green, 56µg/m³ at St Alfeges, 55µg/m³ at Clyde Early Childhood Centre, and 40µg/m³ at Tidemill and St Joseph’s.
Andrew Wood from Network for Clean Air said, “The Mayor of London…needs to bring forward the start date of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone, and extend it to at least all the inner London boroughs – including Greenwich and Lewisham – which have harmful and unlawful levels of air pollution.”
The combined results for Deptford and Greenwich that include Lewisham – where a town centre reading was 109µg/m³ – can be seen here .
For more information on pollution in the area and its devasting effects, go to the No To Silvertown website.
The Deptford study was conducted and funded by local residents with additional funds from Deptford First at Joan Ruddock’s request. Thanks also to Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency for helping administer the funding, and special thanks must go to Joe Dromey and Brenda Dacre for their invaluable assistance.
The survey was conducted in accordance with DEFRA guidelines, and placed at strategic points for a full month between January and February. The results are provisionally bias-adjusted to allow for discrepancies; fully adjusted data will be available soon that includes local authority figures.