WHETHER or not Bury Council ­— given the necessary powers and money ­— could solve the problem of a higher-than-expected level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Bury is uncertain.

But this would not necessarily raise people’s awareness of the seriousness of the problem, nor result in any significant action plan being implemented.

Adopting a Joint Clean Air Plan at Greater Manchester level is a start, but it is absolutely crucial that to avoid any breach of legal limits beyond 2020, the council must involve local people who are the most affected by poor air quality to be part in the drafting of realistic action plans for their neighbourhoods.

Prior to the May, 2018, local elections, Bury Greens secured a commitment from Cllr Alan Quinn to install air pollution monitoring devices outside all primary schools in the borough. We are waiting to see reports from those devices.

What we also suggested was that the council should consider banning diesel vehicles, which account for 80 per cent of nitrogen dioxide emissions, from the town centre. This was turned down on the grounds that it would be the detriment of small businesses and people on low income driving diesel cars.

What the new report now shows is that the highest levels of NO2 emission are indeed found in the town centre in Angouleme Way, Peel Way at the junction of Derby Way and leading down Bolton road and Crostons Road.

As anyone could have predicted, it is also reported that high levels of emissions are found on Bury New Road straddling the M60 in Prestwich and Whitefield.

What is more surprising and extremely worrying for the health of young children, older people and those in poor health is evidence of high level of NO2 emissions on Rochdale road and Water street in Radcliffe.

Bury Greens believe that in addition to monitoring the level of nitrogen dioxide outside primary schools and letting parents be aware of the result of such monitoring as part of an awareness raising campaign, what needs to be done now as a matter of priority is to reduce the number of diesel and other vehicles in Rochdale road and Water street in Radcliffe.

Glyn Heath

Bury Green Party