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Air pollution and public health cannot be swept under the carpet

While the chimney sculptures may be attractive and remind us of our industrial past, they will also represent the modern-day air pollution that makes Tinsley an unhealthy place to live because it’s next to the M1. That’s only going to get worse for local people as development is increasingly focused in the east end, drawing in more road traffic.

The Council’s decision to approve the Meadowhall Leisure Extension relies on two key actions to mitigate air pollution. Firstly, the council’s out of date Air Quality Action Plan with objectives to be achieved by 2015. It has failed to meet the key objective of reducing 500 premature deaths each year in the city. Secondly, improvements in vehicle technology to reduce emissions by 2021.

Neither offers any robust, proven action that will address the air pollution and the linked serious health issues that blight the Tinsley area. This decision sidelines the Sheffield Council’s current Public Health Strategy which says “We will adopt a principle of health in all policies & systematically consider health and wellbeing outcomes, and inequalities across all of the decisions.”

Air pollution and public health cannot be swept under the carpet. People who live in Tinsley cannot be sacrificed for east end development. Meadowhall will contribute £250,000 to the chimneys artwork as part of this decision. That amount of money and more really needs to be spent on public health in Tinsley. No community in Sheffield is more vulnerable and air pollution kills people.

Eamonn Ward
Sheffield Green Party

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Topics: air pollution, Council, Eamonn Ward, Featured, Health, Letters to the press, pollution