Residents form group to slash Brighton air pollution

A campaign has been launched to clean up one of Brighton's worst traffic pollution hotspots.

People living in the Lewes Road area have formed an action group to improve their air quality.

They are monitoring the number of vehicles using one of the busiest main routes into the city.

Lewes Road for Clean Air hopes to use its findings to persuade Brighton and Hove City Council to tackle the problem.

The road is a notorious pollution hotspot with air badly affected by carcinogenic nitrogen dioxide.

The Argus highlighted the problem in May when Brighton and Hove City Council rejected plans for new flats there because of high pollution levels.

Duncan Blinkhorn, 47, from the campaign, said: “The pollution is traffic related so we want to find out how many vehicles are using Lewes Road.

“Many cars have only one person inside them and cause a huge amount of pollution in the area.

“We will use the survey to talk to the council about measures to improve air quality for residents.

“We also hope to put up signs asking motorists to think about helping to cut pollution by reducing the number of car journeys they make along the route.”

The study is being carried out over three months and has so far shown that around 1,200 vehicles an hour use the busy commuter route.

Nearly 75% of those are private cars and of those 60% are carrying just the driver.

On the positive side the survey shows 11% of road users were cyclists.

In 2005 the council identified Lewes Road as one of 18 pollution hotspots in the city.

The Vogue Gyratory and Preston Circus topped the list of sites where air pollution exceeded EU limits.

The council’s air quality action plan set targets to cut nitrogen dioxide levels by 2010.

Keike Feldpausch, another campaign member, said: “I live just off Lewes Road.

“Every so often I wash my white front door down but within a couple of days it is covered in soot again.

“It worries me that the stuff stuck to my front door must also be in my throat and lungs.”

The group has organised a series of events to promote their campaign.

The first is a screening of climate change documentary The Age of Stupid in the Lewes Road community garden on Friday at 7pm.

Campaigners have also arranged their own free park and ride scheme to mark Car Free Day on September 20.

The Big Lemon Bus Company will run services every 15 minutes from the University of Brighton car parks in Moulsecoomb to the Old Steine.

Mr Blinkhorn added: “If more motorists understood the impact they had on the health of people in the area I am sure many would think twice before getting into their cars.”

Comments (18)

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12:07pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Voice of the silent Majority says...

When they pay for the road they can start to dictate who drives up and down them, and it is for the council to sort this by dare i mention it, YES a proper park and ride system for ou city and not just another half baked scheme planned by Roger Frenchie to maximise his profits
When they pay for the road they can start to dictate who drives up and down them, and it is for the council to sort this by dare i mention it, YES a proper park and ride system for ou city and not just another half baked scheme planned by Roger Frenchie to maximise his profits Voice of the silent Majority

12:23pm Mon 14 Sep 09

pancaker says...

One of the massive problems on Lewes Road is the queueing buses that sit in traffic jams of other buses all pumping out pollution. As a cyclist I can cycle past six or seven buses all not going anywhere but all with engines running.

Bus drivers should be made to cut their engines when stationary. Public transport in Brighton could be much improved by breaking some of the B&H bus monopoly and splitting up routes.

There is insane duplication over large parts of Brighton that adds to congestion and adds to pollution far more than cars do.
One of the massive problems on Lewes Road is the queueing buses that sit in traffic jams of other buses all pumping out pollution. As a cyclist I can cycle past six or seven buses all not going anywhere but all with engines running. Bus drivers should be made to cut their engines when stationary. Public transport in Brighton could be much improved by breaking some of the B&H bus monopoly and splitting up routes. There is insane duplication over large parts of Brighton that adds to congestion and adds to pollution far more than cars do. pancaker

12:35pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Variable says...

I dislike the attitude that makes anyone driving alone in a car an anti-social pariah.
I drove through this census point the other day - fair play to them for doing their research before sounding off - and felt slightly guilty because I was now another statistic of someone selfishly using their car without anyone in the passenger seat - as if that was needed to justify the journey.
But the truth is; That was the first time I had used my car in a week (I bus to work) and I was on my way to do my occasional big supermarket run. Total distance driven; about half a mile, but I went through the checkpoint twice.
I live just off Lewes Road I am very aware of the level of pollution here. That's why I think the Community Garden is a splendid idea in a terrible place. I really can't see the point, beyond making an eco-political statement, of sitting there in the noise and dust, and with the sunshine turning the exhaust fumes into ozone all around you.
I dislike the attitude that makes anyone driving alone in a car an anti-social pariah. I drove through this census point the other day - fair play to them for doing their research before sounding off - and felt slightly guilty because I was now another statistic of someone selfishly using their car without anyone in the passenger seat - as if that was needed to justify the journey. But the truth is; That was the first time I had used my car in a week (I bus to work) and I was on my way to do my occasional big supermarket run. Total distance driven; about half a mile, but I went through the checkpoint twice. I live just off Lewes Road I am very aware of the level of pollution here. That's why I think the Community Garden is a splendid idea in a terrible place. I really can't see the point, beyond making an eco-political statement, of sitting there in the noise and dust, and with the sunshine turning the exhaust fumes into ozone all around you. Variable

12:48pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Uncle_Meat says...

As someone who walks to work and cycles when I can, I do use Lewes Road in a car - the main reason the area is polluted is because some moron at the council thinks they can block the traffic with partial bus lanes (which then delays the buses further up the road!) and cycle lanes that are like slalom courses!

Can we ask the people who make these decisions why the pavements are wider than the ones on Western Road when so few people use them and why they've put another crossing in to slow up traffic even further when people don't even use the 2 existing ones?!

Security word finite-resource
As someone who walks to work and cycles when I can, I do use Lewes Road in a car - the main reason the area is polluted is because some moron at the council thinks they can block the traffic with partial bus lanes (which then delays the buses further up the road!) and cycle lanes that are like slalom courses! Can we ask the people who make these decisions why the pavements are wider than the ones on Western Road when so few people use them and why they've put another crossing in to slow up traffic even further when people don't even use the 2 existing ones?! Security word finite-resource Uncle_Meat

1:16pm Mon 14 Sep 09

S.T. Rewth says...

It is all rather inconsiderate of these residents to carry on expelling CO2 themselves.
It is all rather inconsiderate of these residents to carry on expelling CO2 themselves. S.T. Rewth

1:31pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Dufus says...

This is predonimantly down to Diesels - i feel sorry for the person who reguklalry washes the soot off their whit door - that comment bearly made me physically sick. I am not anti-car (I own two) but i do dislike diesel fuel - the soot and by products cause asthma in children and god knows what other lung related diseases. I agree buses probably take a fair share of the blame - they shoudl be fitted with stop-start technology like modern "eco" cars (petrol and DIEsel). Also of the Council had not reduced Lewes Rd from 2 to 1 lanes due to silly buse lanes and cycle lanes and just general "traffic calming" which just makes for longer queues, then traffic would flow more quickly and probably emit less pollution.
This is predonimantly down to Diesels - i feel sorry for the person who reguklalry washes the soot off their whit door - that comment bearly made me physically sick. I am not anti-car (I own two) but i do dislike diesel fuel - the soot and by products cause asthma in children and god knows what other lung related diseases. I agree buses probably take a fair share of the blame - they shoudl be fitted with stop-start technology like modern "eco" cars (petrol and DIEsel). Also of the Council had not reduced Lewes Rd from 2 to 1 lanes due to silly buse lanes and cycle lanes and just general "traffic calming" which just makes for longer queues, then traffic would flow more quickly and probably emit less pollution. Dufus

2:24pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Txa says...

The level of pollution at the Vogue Guiratory was already over the limit before adding the Whole City Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Facility to the area. I would like to know how much "the Dump" it's contributing to the pollution increase in the area?
The level of pollution at the Vogue Guiratory was already over the limit before adding the Whole City Waste Transfer Station and Recycling Facility to the area. I would like to know how much "the Dump" it's contributing to the pollution increase in the area? Txa

6:22pm Mon 14 Sep 09

TheInsider says...

Uncle meat is correct.
The traffic used to flow freely along this route until the council put a partial bus lane on the Lewes Road starting at the junction of Bear Road.
Now the traffic comes to a halt and the whole gyratory sytem becomes gridlocked.
Now the buses travelling along the Lewes Road into town cannot even reach this section of the bus lane and sit bumper to bumper up to the Bear pub and queued past the Lectern pub as the traffic is at a standstill.
I used to catch the bus but it is now quicker to walk and cycle into town than wait for a traffic jammed bus.
In addition to this, the cycle lane is blocked with parked cars.
Today there were eight cars parked in it with bikes and buses pulling out into the opposite carriageway to get past each other.
Then there are now numerous crossings which people push the buttons when they are not even crossing. They just can't help themselves.
The council put in a series of traffic management systems in place which fail to work together and which has created one of the most congested and obstacle ridden routes in the city.
In addition to this, frustrated motorists are now going through red lights at Coombe Road and Bear Road every few minutes making this road a killer.
Someone will die on this route as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians now have so many obstacles and traffic situations to observe it is lethal.
I used to be able to cross the road at the gyratory, but now you take your life into your hands to run at full pelt across it even at the crossing.
It is simply a mess which needs re-thinking.
Uncle meat is correct. The traffic used to flow freely along this route until the council put a partial bus lane on the Lewes Road starting at the junction of Bear Road. Now the traffic comes to a halt and the whole gyratory sytem becomes gridlocked. Now the buses travelling along the Lewes Road into town cannot even reach this section of the bus lane and sit bumper to bumper up to the Bear pub and queued past the Lectern pub as the traffic is at a standstill. I used to catch the bus but it is now quicker to walk and cycle into town than wait for a traffic jammed bus. In addition to this, the cycle lane is blocked with parked cars. Today there were eight cars parked in it with bikes and buses pulling out into the opposite carriageway to get past each other. Then there are now numerous crossings which people push the buttons when they are not even crossing. They just can't help themselves. The council put in a series of traffic management systems in place which fail to work together and which has created one of the most congested and obstacle ridden routes in the city. In addition to this, frustrated motorists are now going through red lights at Coombe Road and Bear Road every few minutes making this road a killer. Someone will die on this route as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians now have so many obstacles and traffic situations to observe it is lethal. I used to be able to cross the road at the gyratory, but now you take your life into your hands to run at full pelt across it even at the crossing. It is simply a mess which needs re-thinking. TheInsider

6:32pm Mon 14 Sep 09

Txa says...

I'll ask again; the Veolia waste transfer tracks every 10 min. approx. plus all the cityclean waste vehicles coming from all over the city, aren't they slowing, blocking and increasing the traffic and pollution considerably??
I'll ask again; the Veolia waste transfer tracks every 10 min. approx. plus all the cityclean waste vehicles coming from all over the city, aren't they slowing, blocking and increasing the traffic and pollution considerably?? Txa

9:01pm Mon 14 Sep 09

davyboy says...

Voice of the silent Majority wrote:
When they pay for the road they can start to dictate who drives up and down them, and it is for the council to sort this by dare i mention it, YES a proper park and ride system for ou city and not just another half baked scheme planned by Roger Frenchie to maximise his profits
park and ride will only work if the council and bus company work together. more than one site is needed, and the council need to use some of their land for this purpose. half the reason for the pollution in lewes road is not the amount of traffic, although it is high, but the number of pedestrian crossings and traffic lights along the road forcing the traffic to stop every 50 yds. by the way, Roger French didn't plan the last park and ride service, the bus company merely supplied the buses. to see p & r working properly, travel to york, cambridge or oxford, where this runs perfectly well, with partnerships between councils and bus companies. trouble with your councilis that although they harp on about a green city, they do nothing to help make it so. they need to release some land around the city to make p&r sites. then, with these in place, make it free parking, and a reasonable return fare on the bus. also some bus lanes direct into town, with bus priority at traffic lights. not a difficult thing to do, but it needs the right people in place, with the right ideas, to make it work.
[quote][p][bold]Voice of the silent Majority[/bold] wrote: When they pay for the road they can start to dictate who drives up and down them, and it is for the council to sort this by dare i mention it, YES a proper park and ride system for ou city and not just another half baked scheme planned by Roger Frenchie to maximise his profits[/p][/quote]park and ride will only work if the council and bus company work together. more than one site is needed, and the council need to use some of their land for this purpose. half the reason for the pollution in lewes road is not the amount of traffic, although it is high, but the number of pedestrian crossings and traffic lights along the road forcing the traffic to stop every 50 yds. by the way, Roger French didn't plan the last park and ride service, the bus company merely supplied the buses. to see p & r working properly, travel to york, cambridge or oxford, where this runs perfectly well, with partnerships between councils and bus companies. trouble with your councilis that although they harp on about a green city, they do nothing to help make it so. they need to release some land around the city to make p&r sites. then, with these in place, make it free parking, and a reasonable return fare on the bus. also some bus lanes direct into town, with bus priority at traffic lights. not a difficult thing to do, but it needs the right people in place, with the right ideas, to make it work. davyboy

11:39pm Mon 14 Sep 09

boblat says...

Great! The more publicity the better.
However, the problem is very much bigger than Lewis Road in Brighton.
Great! The more publicity the better. However, the problem is very much bigger than Lewis Road in Brighton. boblat

12:41am Tue 15 Sep 09

bug eye says...

As stated by a lot of bloggers the road scheme here introduced by the labour administration causes more congestion than it cured. This is also a very student area whom very many seem to own a car, and probably drive the couple of miles to uni. There is also the sainsburys and diy stores nearby where people generally use a car to carry heavy items home. This is also the only main route in and out of the city to the east, but the main reason it is so slow is because of the bus lanes and obstructive bus stops and the ridiculous amount of pedestrian crossings. more big lemon buses please, a park and ride, roundabouts instead of lights and shared space, no road hogging diesel spouting bus priorities until they get their act together with cheaper fares.
As stated by a lot of bloggers the road scheme here introduced by the labour administration causes more congestion than it cured. This is also a very student area whom very many seem to own a car, and probably drive the couple of miles to uni. There is also the sainsburys and diy stores nearby where people generally use a car to carry heavy items home. This is also the only main route in and out of the city to the east, but the main reason it is so slow is because of the bus lanes and obstructive bus stops and the ridiculous amount of pedestrian crossings. more big lemon buses please, a park and ride, roundabouts instead of lights and shared space, no road hogging diesel spouting bus priorities until they get their act together with cheaper fares. bug eye

8:22am Tue 15 Sep 09

King from Hove says...

New labour administration caused this major problem when they were in power.We have gridlocked single lane roads in and out of Brighton.Ridiculous bus and cycle lanes which do not work and cause the problem.Our roads are too narrow.A259 was another disaster.Almost everything done by the previous council instead of improving has ruined the roads/traffic and have increased pollution fifty fold and made our roads dangerous.
New labour administration caused this major problem when they were in power.We have gridlocked single lane roads in and out of Brighton.Ridiculous bus and cycle lanes which do not work and cause the problem.Our roads are too narrow.A259 was another disaster.Almost everything done by the previous council instead of improving has ruined the roads/traffic and have increased pollution fifty fold and made our roads dangerous. King from Hove

8:49am Tue 15 Sep 09

pancaker says...

The trouble is, that these comments clearly show widespread anger about how bad the traffic management is on Lewes Road, largely down to bad planning with pedestrian crossings and the bus lane, but is anyone going to do anything about it?

If so many people can see the problem it'd be nice if the council or whoever else has responsibility for it could do so too.
The trouble is, that these comments clearly show widespread anger about how bad the traffic management is on Lewes Road, largely down to bad planning with pedestrian crossings and the bus lane, but is anyone going to do anything about it? If so many people can see the problem it'd be nice if the council or whoever else has responsibility for it could do so too. pancaker

10:16am Tue 15 Sep 09

Variable says...

Don't make the assumption that a council highways planner is going to try and speed up traffic flows.
Their policy seems to be to make any journey for private motorists as difficult and tortuous as possible to discourage us from driving.
So we end up with long lines of gridlocked cars belching out pollution and going nowhere.
And it's not like the bus lanes in Lewes Road have improved the bus reliability either. At peak times there should be a bus to Churchill Square every four minutes but I still get left waiting for 15 minutes some mornings.
Don't make the assumption that a council highways planner is going to try and speed up traffic flows. Their policy seems to be to make any journey for private motorists as difficult and tortuous as possible to discourage us from driving. So we end up with long lines of gridlocked cars belching out pollution and going nowhere. And it's not like the bus lanes in Lewes Road have improved the bus reliability either. At peak times there should be a bus to Churchill Square every four minutes but I still get left waiting for 15 minutes some mornings. Variable

10:27am Tue 15 Sep 09

TheInsider says...

Variable you are right.
As I said, I used to catch a bus to the station every morning.
It's now quicker to walk as the buses are stuck in traffic with the cars, not moving rendering the bus lanes useless.
Interestingly, the Labour group sent a letter out last year asking residents if they wanted the Vogue Gyratory system examined.
Ask Simon Burgess for more information.
Variable you are right. As I said, I used to catch a bus to the station every morning. It's now quicker to walk as the buses are stuck in traffic with the cars, not moving rendering the bus lanes useless. Interestingly, the Labour group sent a letter out last year asking residents if they wanted the Vogue Gyratory system examined. Ask Simon Burgess for more information. TheInsider

3:07pm Tue 15 Sep 09

grabur says...

I am glad to say I have left that stinky valley after being there for 8 years.

When I first walked up the Lewes Road I could see the smog. But after a while you just get used to it.

I was excited, at first to see the traffic calming scheme. And finally a bike lane, but as other's have said, you can't use them easily. There are always cars parked near Park Cresent Surgery. And the narrow roads and islands just make it even more dangerous.

I'd say the whole scheme is a tragic failure. Bus/cycle/car pool lanes would have been infinitely better.

The vogue gyratory, breaks the town in two, it just feels horrible as a pedestrian.

I've been knocked off my bike twice near, and on the gyratory.

Solution? Park and ride from the old Army Cadet's site? Resurrection of Brighton's trams or the Lewes road train station? Affordable bus fares? Cheap taxes for highly populated areas?

Or will people take self responsibility and drive less often and less frivolously?

I suggested tree planting on the road, I was on, but residents were up in arms, as they'd lose parking spots.

Which to me, just about sums it up, people will selfishly obsess over their cars at the expense, of their's and other's health.

Not only are cars dangerous, but they are an absolute eyesore. Some would argue they bring communities and people together, but I think that's at the expense of the local community that ends up fragmented.

It's nice to know, that some people at least care and are raising awareness.
I am glad to say I have left that stinky valley after being there for 8 years. When I first walked up the Lewes Road I could see the smog. But after a while you just get used to it. I was excited, at first to see the traffic calming scheme. And finally a bike lane, but as other's have said, you can't use them easily. There are always cars parked near Park Cresent Surgery. And the narrow roads and islands just make it even more dangerous. I'd say the whole scheme is a tragic failure. Bus/cycle/car pool lanes would have been infinitely better. The vogue gyratory, breaks the town in two, it just feels horrible as a pedestrian. I've been knocked off my bike twice near, and on the gyratory. Solution? Park and ride from the old Army Cadet's site? Resurrection of Brighton's trams or the Lewes road train station? Affordable bus fares? Cheap taxes for highly populated areas? Or will people take self responsibility and drive less often and less frivolously? I suggested tree planting on the road, I was on, but residents were up in arms, as they'd lose parking spots. Which to me, just about sums it up, people will selfishly obsess over their cars at the expense, of their's and other's health. Not only are cars dangerous, but they are an absolute eyesore. Some would argue they bring communities and people together, but I think that's at the expense of the local community that ends up fragmented. It's nice to know, that some people at least care and are raising awareness. grabur

4:28am Wed 16 Sep 09

greenpaws says...

Fully support their attempts.

I live off Preston Circus and you can see all the inconsideration of many who pollute our area, worsening my asthma.

Many cars are carrying only one passenger.

Perhaps it's time for the Brighton Congestion Charge. It can go towards lower bus fares and more buses.
Fully support their attempts. I live off Preston Circus and you can see all the inconsideration of many who pollute our area, worsening my asthma. Many cars are carrying only one passenger. Perhaps it's time for the Brighton Congestion Charge. It can go towards lower bus fares and more buses. greenpaws

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