Traffic fumes create ‘toxic health’ scare

The Oxford Times: Sue Smith, third from right, with other residents concerned by air pollution. Picture: OX66938 Greg Blatchford Buy this photo Sue Smith, third from right, with other residents concerned by air pollution. Picture: OX66938 Greg Blatchford

HEAVY traffic is producing potentially lethal toxic fumes in New Hinksey, residents claim.

The group says traffic in Abingdon Road and Weirs Lane has become worse since Oxford’s High Street was closed to cars in 1999.

Figures by Oxford City Council show pollution is close to the limit set by the local authority, but is improving.

Peel Place resident Sue Smith, 65, said she was diagnosed with bronchitis and asthma about three years ago, believing her conditions are linked to the traffic.

Mrs Smith said: “You don’t usually go your whole life not having asthma and then suddenly get diagnosed in your 60s.

“I feel we’re a neglected area and I’m very angry about what’s happening here. You just have to walk around and it’s horrible – the air just feels dirtier.

“It really is playing with people’s lives and it’s a silent killer.”

Weirs Lane resident Gloria Webb, 66, has had asthma for 25 years, but believes it is getting worse.

She said: “I’ve lived in the area for 44 years and I’ve noticed a big difference in the traffic. From my front door you can just smell the fumes of the traffic. My GP says the only way I would get better is if I move out of the city.”

Related links

Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN) executive director Jamie Clarke, 39, lives on a narrowboat in Weirs Lane and says he can “taste” the pollution.

The father-of-two cycles with his eldest daughter Polly, six, to St Ebbe’s Primary School each day and is worried she breathes in fumes.

He said: “It’s noticeable around rush hour, especially in the summer, where you can really taste the pollution and it’s unpleasant.

“Weirs Lane and Donnington Bridge are packed nose to tail with cars.”

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price, who serves the Hinksey Park ward, said the only solutions included closing Donnington Bridge to traffic, preventing cars travelling northbound from turning right into Weirs Lane or reducing cars’ emission levels.

The city council aims to keep nitrogen dioxide levels under 40 microgrammes per metre cubed (ug/m3).

Air quality monitoring last year showed levels were 40ug/m3 on Abingdon Road south of the Weirs Lane junction, 35ug/m3 on the northern side of the junction and 29ug/m3 in Weirs Lane.

City council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said pollution levels were improving, adding: “Air quality generally improves significantly as you move away from these hot-spot locations, and residents in this area should not be unduly concerned.”

Oxfordshire County Council would not comment about the residents’ claims about closing High Street.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:11am Fri 9 May 14

xenarthra says...

Why have they waited 15 years to start complaining?
Why have they waited 15 years to start complaining? xenarthra
  • Score: 2

11:32am Fri 9 May 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

and have none of these residents got cars or drive them and polute other areas?? Typical Nimbys.
and have none of these residents got cars or drive them and polute other areas?? Typical Nimbys. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: 1

12:03pm Fri 9 May 14

Oxford Local says...

Where is this “Weirs Lane and Doddington Bridge.

I have never heard of Doddington Bridge.
Where is this “Weirs Lane and Doddington Bridge. I have never heard of Doddington Bridge. Oxford Local
  • Score: 7

2:24pm Fri 9 May 14

Myron Blatz says...

Does beg the question as to why anyone would want to live there in the first place, with pollution having been an issue for many decades - a bit like people who move to areas near to rivers, and then complain about flooding!
Does beg the question as to why anyone would want to live there in the first place, with pollution having been an issue for many decades - a bit like people who move to areas near to rivers, and then complain about flooding! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 2

3:08pm Fri 9 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

"Oxford City Council leader Bob Price, who serves the Hinksey Park ward, said the only solutions included closing Donnington Bridge to traffic, preventing cars travelling northbound from turning right into Weirs Lane or reducing cars’ emission levels.".........
...........Or the most sensible option, open the High Street to all traffic, 24/7 ....it's not rocket science
"Oxford City Council leader Bob Price, who serves the Hinksey Park ward, said the only solutions included closing Donnington Bridge to traffic, preventing cars travelling northbound from turning right into Weirs Lane or reducing cars’ emission levels."......... ...........Or the most sensible option, open the High Street to all traffic, 24/7 ....it's not rocket science Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 1

3:27pm Fri 9 May 14

Floflo says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Does beg the question as to why anyone would want to live there in the first place, with pollution having been an issue for many decades - a bit like people who move to areas near to rivers, and then complain about flooding!
You really need to ask this question? Surely it's obvious.

I'm sure the vast majority of people would like to live on a quiet street, or in a cottage in the country. The realities are that when choosing where to live most people need to make compromises.

It should be of no surprise to you that the cheapest places to live are often next to main roads. People have not choice but to endure the pollution.

It's a matter of fact that people of lower incomes have higher incidence of disease related to air pollution. While the better off take clean air for granted the less well of have to endure the pollution.

But of course they are all Ninbys for taking an interest of the health of themselves and of their neighbours!
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Does beg the question as to why anyone would want to live there in the first place, with pollution having been an issue for many decades - a bit like people who move to areas near to rivers, and then complain about flooding![/p][/quote]You really need to ask this question? Surely it's obvious. I'm sure the vast majority of people would like to live on a quiet street, or in a cottage in the country. The realities are that when choosing where to live most people need to make compromises. It should be of no surprise to you that the cheapest places to live are often next to main roads. People have not choice but to endure the pollution. It's a matter of fact that people of lower incomes have higher incidence of disease related to air pollution. While the better off take clean air for granted the less well of have to endure the pollution. But of course they are all Ninbys for taking an interest of the health of themselves and of their neighbours! Floflo
  • Score: -6

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree