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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.”