A huge traffic monitoring exercise takes place next week as part of the development of Liverpool’s city-wide air quality plan.
Starting on Monday 25 February for a week, 40 cameras will count the amount of traffic, the type of vehicles and engine types on major routes into the city using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology.
The routes they will be placed on include: Derby Road, County Road, Walton Hall Avenue, Utting Avenue, Townsend Avenue, Muirhead Avenue, Prescot Road, Allerton Road, Aigburth Road, Vauxhall Road, Scotland Road, Menlove Avenue, Speke Road, West Derby Road, Dale Street, the Strand, Lime Street and the Queensway Tunnel entrance.
It forms part of a £1.1 million programme funded by the Government which also includes installing air quality monitoring stations and updating modelling data for transport in the city region.
Although the city is only obliged legally to ensure it meets UK and European Nitrogen Dioxide pollution levels by 2020, it wants to go further and reduce them as much as practically and quickly as possible.
Councillor James Noakes, Cabinet member for highways, transport and streetscene, said: “Liverpool’s a growing city and, as with other cities, we have high levels of traffic and it causes around 70 percent of air pollution.
“The quality of air we breathe affects our health and wellbeing and we are all affected by it, particularly children and the elderly, and long-term exposure can contribute to heart disease, stroke and lung diseases like asthma.
“This is a key piece of work to understand the challenges that we face and we know that as a council we have to play our part. We are leading by example, by changing our fleet of vehicles to be greener, encouraging hackney drivers to move over to less polluting vehicles and working with Merseytravel to deliver a better and cleaner bus service.
“We’re looking to reduce traffic congestion in key areas – like the Strand, new Islington and Bowring Park Road by the Rocket – and making improvements to roads and walk ways to encourage people to walk and cycle more.
“We are working with city region partners because air quality crosses council borders. Likewise, we have also joined other cities as part of the UK100 initiative to demand central government implements the changes and provides the money it needs to, if we are to really make a difference such as a new clean air act, a scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles and appropriate funding to properly tackle air quality.
“We want Liverpool to have the cleanest air because we want people to live longer, and poor air quality is impacting on the quality of life for residents.”
In 2017, Mayor Joe Anderson laid out a vision to prioritise walking, cycling, electric vehicles and clean fuels to reduce the impact of air pollution.
The council is in the process of changing to a diesel-free fleet including purchasing new waste collection vehicles, has started installing 100 electric vehicle charging points and banned taxis from retro-fitting higher polluting engines.
There are plans for a new bus hub which will remove 750,000 miles traveled in the city centre and 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Last year the council launched ‘Let’s Clear the Air Liverpool’, a campaign to raise awareness of the damaging effect of air pollution on health and to advise on actions that we can all take to reduce our personal exposure to air pollution, reduce our personal contribution to it and actions to improve the quality of the air in the city.
The latest science suggests that in a city the size of Liverpool, exposure to poor quality air contributes to around 230 deaths each year.
VIDEO: You can watch pupils from Mosspits Lane Primary School in Wavertree having their say on air pollution at https://youtu.be/rJ54sP-o8hc
More information about Let’s Clear the Air Liverpool can be found at www.letscleartheairliverpool.co.uk