We recently wrote to Professor Frank Kelly at Kings College London providing him with detailed information including unpublished air pollution measurements taken by RBKC at the Westway Sports Centre. Please refer to our recent blog entitled “Westway Air Pollution Scandal – Shocking New Revelations”:
Professor Kelly replied to us on 6 Feb 2015. We quote below key parts of his email to us:
“The situation at Westway is unfortunately one that exists near all major roads across London (and other UK cities) with NO2 exceedances breaching both EU annual limit values and WHO health based guidelines. As you are probably aware this is the reason the European Commission is threatening to fine the UK for breaches of law. Client Earth are leading this campaign in the UK courts and you may want to contact them for further information/advice.
It was clearly not the right decision to provide planning permission to locate a sports facility at this location – one at which children would be exposed to high NO2 concentrations while exercising.
The recent Environmental Audit Committee report (published in December) stresses that no new school should be built within several hundred metres of a major road for this very reason.”
Professor Kelly BSc, PhD, FRSA holds the chair in Environmental Health at King’s College London, where he is Director of the Analytical & Environmental Sciences Division. His other positions of responsibility are Director of the Environmental Research Group and Deputy Director of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health. From these dual positions he is able to combine his two main research interests, namely free radical/antioxidant biochemistry and the impact of atmospheric pollution on human health.
In addition to his academic work he is past President of the European Society for Free Radical Research and past Chairman of the British Association for Lung Research. He is also involved with providing policy support to the WHO on air pollution issues and is a member of the Committee on the Medical effects of Air Pollution.
Although Professor Kelly’s remarks regarding Westway Sports Centre were made very recently, the specific issues at that location having just been brought to his attention by us, his criticisms of RBKC (and Westway Trust) are entirely valid and the underlying issues, and the attitude of the European Commission to London’s traffic pollution problems, were undoubtedly known to both these bodies when Westway Trust and RBKC colluded in inappropriately granting planning permission for the Westway Sports Centre.
It is past time that both bodies issued a public apology, and made a genuine attempt to rectify the harm done to users of the Westway Sports Centre. We would suggest that RBKC invest some of their massive reserves in planning and delivering a new state of the art outdoor sports centre for North Kensington at a more suitable venue. Perhaps it might be appropriate to use part of the massive, and underused, Kensington Memorial Park for this purpose?