Walkers and cyclists caught in early morning fog on Dublin’s Old Cabra Road
As newly published research* shows a link between major traffic proximity and dementia, the Green Party has called on Government to consider limiting certain vehicles from Irish urban centres. The call comes as Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency measured poor air quality in certain towns over the holiday period. The Party has also said that Minister Ross must now give local authorities the power to ban polluting vehicles from urban centres so as to improve air quality.
Green Party Transport Spokesperson Cllr. Ciaran Cuffe said today: “Research published yesterday in the Lancet medical journal suggests that living close to heavy traffic is associated with a higher incidence of dementia. The Government should now consider restricting heavily polluting vehicles from urban centres and follow the lead of cities such as Berlin and Rome that have such bans in place.
“We also need to improve our monitoring of air pollution in urban areas. In Dublin’s inner city there are only two measuring points for air pollution: Coleraine Street in Dublin 7 and Winetavern Street in Dublin 2. This is insufficient to obtain a clear picture of urban air quality, and Minister Coveney should ensure that local authorities are adequately resourced to measure pollution. He should also ensure that the EPA publishes data in a timely manner as some of the ‘real-time’ data on the EPA’s own site has not been updated since last August**, and air quality data in Cork City was unavailable*** for several days over the Christmas period.
“The extension of the smoky coal ban nationwide should now be considered by Minister Coveney as a matter of urgency as the links between human health and pollution become clearer. The EPA has previously reported that air pollution is responsible for 1,200 premature deaths every year in Ireland. It is time to take action. Improved monitoring of fuel suppliers is also required to ensure fuel suppliers are not breaching the existing ban in some towns and cities.
“Finally An Garda Síochána must take air pollution seriously and issue fines under the Road Traffic Acts to vehicles emitting high levels of pollution, typically older poorly maintained diesel vehicles.”