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Surrey bike shop owner says air pollution now so bad he has to keep his door shut

Farnham was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2007 but pollution is rising

The owner of a Farnham bike shop says that the town’s roads are now so clogged with traffic, he has to keep his door closed because of air pollution. Gary Bird, who has been at Hoops Velo for 17 years, described the town centre as “almost like an urban motorway.”

Get Surrey reports that Surrey County Council (SCC), Waverley Borough Council, Farnham Town Council and MP Jeremy Hunt this week announced that a Farnham Project Board was to be set up to tackle the town’s poor air quality.

"There's a massive opportunity here to increase trying to get people out of their vehicles and to walk or cycle,” said Bird.

The bike shop owner feels the town currently presents “quite a hostile environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

"It's like the cars dominate the town centre and it's such a lovely town centre," he said, adding that dust and traffic pollution has at times been so bad near his East Street store that it has aggravated his asthma.

"Myself and my colleague got so bad in the end we had to have the doors shut every day. We were dusting all the products because it blows in."

He said: "We need to stop using Farnham town centre as a cut through. The A31 is almost like an urban motorway through the town."

In 2007, Farnham was declared an Air Quality Management Area. This means that it is an area likely to exceed the national air quality objective for a specific pollutant – in this case nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Road transport is a major source of NO2 emissions in the UK.

Air quality data from November of last year showed an “alarming rise” in levels of nitrogen dioxide, potentially placing the town in the worst two per cent of areas in the UK.

The Farnham Herald reports that the annual mean concentration of NO2 of around 50 microgrammes per cubic metre was significantly above the EU and UK legal limit of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre and up around 10 from the levels recorded the previous year.

Speaking at the time, local air quality consultant David Harvey advocated reducing traffic to one lane, widening pavements and installing a new cycle lane.

He described the town’s one-way system as, “a hazard to cyclists, a hazard to pedestrians and, because of pollution, a hazard to health.”

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Gm_Crop | 4 years ago

As someone working in Farnham who has to work to appointments I regularly have people come in 20 minutes late complaining about traffic and the lack of parking.

They usually live less than 2 miles away but cannot see a solution. Car is king.

grumpyoldcyclist | 4 years ago

"Road transport is a major source of NO2 emissions in the UK".

Aren't gas central heating boilers too?
Just saying..........

ktache replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 4 years ago
1 like

Yes, it would appear that central heating boilers are, but just like wood and coal burning stoves generating pm2.5s, these numbers are also very high in the summer too.  

We can walk and cycle more, and put on a jumper if a little chilly inside.

Driving absolutely everywhere and wearing T shirt and shorts inside in the winter just isn't right.

brooksby replied to ktache | 4 years ago

The boiler thing is interesting, because our own is reaching the end of its life. 

However I don't want to have take a loan to spend thousands on a new gas boiler if its going to be obsolete or illegal within a few years and yet the alternative energy alternatives are all new tech and wildly expensive.


muhasib | 4 years ago

Ironic that the cream building to the left of the shop is an undertakers.

The one way system is terrible, the road surface is full of holes and there is a big levelled site (what used to be the Woolmead) to the other side of the shop that Berkeley homes haven't worked on since July as they've been trying to alter the existing planning permission.

Echo | 4 years ago

Store owner was misquoted.

cdamian | 4 years ago

Might be worth converting the parking into a green space, bicycle parking and exhibition space for the shop. It might help a bit with pm10, but mostly it would be a good signal.

Echo replied to cdamian | 4 years ago
1 like

Bike parking is inside for security.

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