Meeting with Crispin Kennard – TMBC Environmental Protection Manager – 30th January 2020 – Notes
High pollution levels were a problem in the village and hard to address. Although pollution readings from outside the Village Hall have not been shown to exceed pollution objectives, the diffusion tubes on Tonbridge Road to the east of the crossroads recorded some of the highest values in the borough and regularly exceed objective levels. The reasons why it is just this location that records high levels of nitrogen dioxide are most likely due to a combination of the prevailing wind and vehicles accelerating away from the lights. With private buildings close to the road and only a narrow pavement running from Red Hill around the corner onto Tonbridge Road it is difficult to see what physical mitigation solutions might be possible here. Although fumes from car exhaust are one of the major factors particulates were also a contributing factor
Crispin said TMBC would work with KCC to get Nu-venture and Arriva bus companies to get them to reduce their emissions. Traffic calming measures which made vehicles slow down and then speed up increased emissions while vehicles travelling at a constant speed reduced them. Modern cars on the road do reduce emissions although electric powered vehicles are not emissions free. Crispin also said TMBC’s Air Quality Report was due out this year.
It was felt that signage for restricting HGV’s use of Bow Road needed to be more prominent as in addition to the congestion they cause, HGV’s are responsible for higher levels of exhaust emissions. This would be put to KCC under the Highways Improvement Plan at a meeting to be arranged with Ian Grigor.
It was agreed that the pollution monitor would remain in place in the village hall foyer until it is needed elsewhere. TMBC were looking at whether monitoring of pollutants other than just exhaust gases might be possible
A request received from Cllr Hudson for the PC to cover the cost (although no costs have been submitted) of a living wall alongside the ragstone wall outside the village hall, a height of about 3ft. The VH would cover the cost of running a water supply under the flagstone path to the unit. The position would be under the canopy of the Horse Chestnut tree where there would be a reduction in light needed. Previous planting in that area had failed due to lack of rain and light. There were no independent statistics that showed living walls reduced pollution, they may trap particles but not gas. The better site for a living wall was over the crossroads where the readings were high but there was nowhere suitable.
After discussion it was felt expenditure was unjustified on a project that may well fail and just be aesthetic. This would be a decision for the whole Council End
Note: At the Parish Council meeting on 4th February 2020 Cllr Hudson said the Village Hall had received a donation towards the cost of a living wall so no funds would be requested from the Parish Council