We deserve better air, not worse. Air pollution caused by motor traffic can result in harm to the unborn baby, abnormal development of the brain and lungs and asthma in children, with heart and lung disease, cancers, diabetes, and dementia in adults. In other words, diseases that affect people in Burngreave.
The Burngreave Clean Air Campaign has monitored this deadly pollution at sites across our area for nearly five years. Some of our results are consistently higher than most parts of the city centre. The results have often been horrifying and way over the legal maximum. For example, at the junction of Barnsley Road and Herries Road where the level of Nitrogen Dioxide for the period January to June 2021 was 60mcg per m3 (The legal maximum is 40mcg per m3). This pollution represents a severe health risk to people who live, work and go to school here, day in, day out.
This public health emergency is also a great social injustice as it disproportionally affects the poorest and those from ethnic minorities, as acknowledged by organisations as diverse as the Environment Agency and Black Lives Matter.
The Sheffield city centre Clean Air Zone scheme represents a landmark in the council’s recognition of the severity of air pollution in Sheffield. However, this focus on the city centre seems rather bizarre as the city centre has no schools, and few children or vulnerable elderly people living there. It is more likely that this initiative, will actually divert more polluting vehicles through our residential area of Burngreave. In this way even more increasing the risk to our local people. Therefore, we have submitted a request for information regarding the results of the traffic displacement modelling which should have been undertaken during the planning of the Clean Air Zone.
Our three Burngreave councillors have presented a range of hard hitting questions to the full council on aspects of the likely negative impact of this scheme. Rather than the punitive and discriminatory measures in the present Clean Air Zone scheme, we would rather see the money spent on enabling a low emission, efficient, reliable and affordable bus service to improve our air quality across the whole city: an initiative to positively attract people out of their cars back on to public transport. We fear that the health and lives of families in Burngreave are cynically being put at risk due to the council’s legal need to be seen to be doing something about air pollution, rather than providing a radical solution for the benefit of all Sheffield’s residents.