Given that the primary source of the main pollutants is from motor cars, one would have thought the solution is relatively simple, ie, reduce car travel. If the Government was prepared to produce an integrated transport policy, with emphasis on public transport, this would be easily achievable.
It is possible, as a recent report in the Enviroment Transport Association journal illustrates by comparing Freiburg and Guildford. Freiburg has a square kilometre that is pedestrianised and has little traffic. Guildford is basically choked.
There is also mounting evidence of the effects of short-term exposure to high levels of air pollution. These levels might only last for an hour or so during peak rush-hour periods, but are often way above even DoE limits. As most data is averaged over 24-hour periods, these breaches are not recorded.
Often motorists feel that they can breathe safely in their cars, yet levels of benzene and other carcinogens are several times higher inside the car than the ambient level.
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