Guildford Labour Party invited the team from Surrey University’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) to talk to members about the problem of air pollution in Guildford. Professor Kumar gave a short presentation covering the different types of particles that cause major pollution, and the work his team has done on using ‘green barriers’ – trees, hedges, green walls – to shield pedestrians and cyclists from the effects of vehicle emissions.
This was followed by a lively question and answer session in which other issues pertinent to local people were discussed. Professor Kumar confirmed that cars idling in traffic jams provide the worst possible scenario for serious pollution, making many wonder why cars that automatically cut our when in neutral are not more common. Members also asked why the new cycle way constructed alongside Stoke Park did not have a hedge to shield riders and runners from the effects of car pollution.
The final part of the session involved members discussing issues, conducting an exercise on suitable barrier methods and reading other research materials.
Guildford labour Chair Richard Mithen commented “Air pollution is inevitably a serious issue in a congested town like Guildford, but Professor Kumar’s team have shown just how serious it is, and how effectively pollution can be mitigated by intelligent use of green barriers. Guildford Labour hope to have the opportunity in the future to work with GCARE to improve the air quality in Guildford town centre.”