Call for emergency action on polluted Derry air

Mon, 24/02/2020 - 14:35 -- Editor

SDLP MLA Sinead McLaughlin has called on Environment minister Edwin Poots to take urgent action on dangerous levels of air pollution in Derry.  

The Foyle MLA said: “Recent bad weather has made the serious problems of poor air quality in Derry an even worse crisis. Environment minister Edwin Poots must take urgent action to address this crisis.” 

“I have been contacted in recent days about the worsened air quality. Parents with children with asthma are very concerned. The environment department has found in recent years that Derry has a specific and severe problem with regard to air quality, which is linked to the dependence on solid fuel and also the excessive traffic on some of our city’s roads. In 2016, the Brandywell area had the UK’s worst recorded PAH emissions, caused by solid fuel burning and which is a proven cause of cancer.  

“The British government has responded to the current air quality crisis with plans to ban the sale of coal and wet wood. It is beyond time for our environment department to come up with proposals for a solution here. Ironically, the air pollution crisis has been made worse by the increase in the installation of wood burning stoves, especially those burning wet wood. The Renewable Heat Incentive was not only a financial mistake, but also an environmental failure.”