Jersey Government Responds
States of Jersey Minister for the Environment, Steve Luce, has given a response regarding the results of my pollution test which I am posting here for your information and for the relevance to my piece:
I welcome the interest Mr Taylor has in air quality and I am due to meet with him to discuss his results soon. The choice of St Saviour’s Hill for the monitoring was a good one. The presence of standing traffic during peak hours and the “cavern effect” of the topography makes it a likely site for traffic pollution. We are not surprised at the results. The monitoring took place for two weeks and the results should not therefore be compared to EU annual mean limits as referred to in your article. To state that levels “exceeded the legal limits set by the EU” is not quite accurate. However, it is true that, in the unlikely event that the pollution levels remained high all year, it would represent a breach. Brief exposure to such levels on a short walk to school or work does not pose an immediate health risk to healthy adults or children.
My department monitors air quality at sites across the island, and the Air Quality Monitoring in Jersey 2016 report (gov.je) reveals that there were no breaches of EU limits in 2016. It is worth noting that while a site may have a monthly recording of high, it may not have a high annual mean. The St Helier Market site experiences high levels of pollution at peak times, corresponding with traffic levels and early morning market activity. However, the site does not breach the annual mean EU standard.
Whilst air quality in Jersey is generally very good and data gathered over many years confirms that air quality is improving, we must not become complacent. I agree that the States and our community need to continue to address air quality issues. Only this week we monitored the air quality in the tunnel, to test the exposure to pollutants during rush hour for a pedestrian, a cyclist and someone in a car. We are also working with Digital Jersey and the private sector on a network of near real-time air quality monitoring. We expect to place detectors on buses to allow monitoring across the Island. Air quality results will be made public and help the public to make choices about routes and times of journeys. Results will also assist the States in making policy decisions that impact on air quality.
I hope to discuss the above with Mr Taylor when I meet with him, to review his findings and to clarify how we progress the matter of air quality.