Very is the unsurprising answer. A recent pollution study has found that the Tiger’s Head intersection of Lee High Road, Lee Road, Eltham Road and Burnt Ash Road registers 75% over legal limits for pollution. Anyone who regularly walks or driven through that crossroads will already be familiar with the sheer volume of traffic which crawls through the junction, especially at peak times.
A Better Lee Green is the campaign group which commissioned the independent Pollution Study of our local area in response to St Modwen’s plans to build a massive ASDA superstore on the Leegate site. This week they released their findings.
A Better Lee Green’s Findings-March newsletter.Sign up here to receive updates directly.
St Modwen, have submitted their plans to develop Leegate with the proposed Public Space stretching up to 16 metres back from Burnt Ash Road.
In January – February 2015, Network for Clean Air and A Better Lee Green partnered to hang nitrogen dioxide detecting tubes in the Leegate Shopping Centre and its surrounding areas.
The tubes remained in place for a month and then were sent to an independent laboratory in Oxfordshire that is used by many councils for their pollution studies. The results that came back included:
% Above EU Nitrogen Dioxide legal limit
% Below EU Nitrogen Dioxide legal limit.
MAP— Tiger’s Head tube 75% above legal limit
– Tube 16 metres back from Burnt Ash Road 25% above legal limits
– Tube in the centre of the current, sheltered square 13% below the legal limit.
– Tubes placed near high buildings measured higher than those placed near similar levels of traffic near open spaces.
(Note: Vehicles travelling along Burnt Ash Road will increase by several thousand cars per day under St Modwen’s proposed plans).
Effects of Pollution: Prolonged exposure to nitrogen dioxide and pm2.5 (both emitted by vehicles) causes respiratory problems, can lead to cancer and can affect the development of children’s lungs. Deaths in the UK from these pollutants are predicted to be higher than those from smoking alone and those from obesity, traffic accidents and alcoholism combined in 2015 (Government figures).
St Modwen claim that planting trees will solve additional pollution caused by their new superstore. Trees and greenery serve an important role in psychological wellbeing, biodiversity, drainage and flood alleviation. However, they cannot be relied upon to adequately absorb these levels of pollution. Trees at ground level currently do not absorb existing pollutants and the levels of pollutants will increase with St Modwen’s plans.
St Modwen believe their proposals will not bring more congestion and pollution problems to the area: Asda will be as big as Sainsburys, which receives around 45,000 visitors per week, estimated over 60% by car. Who do St Modwen expect to park in the 100’s of proposed parking spaces?
Make Leegate Green: Local groups including the Lee Green Local Assembly Leegate Working Group, Lee Manor Society and A Better Lee Green fully support Leegate’s redevelopment but call for public space to be moved to the centre of the development and for a smaller store which would attract less traffic. This study offers strong evidence for these demands.
Reminder: How to submit your comments to Lewisham Planning
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A huge thank you to Network for Clean Air for their guidance and time.