Protecting Medway's Environment
By Alan Wells
There's a growing body of evidence to suggest that there will be an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events with important implications for infrastructure in Medway. It is vital that the Council consider how to improve the resilience of the Medway Towns infrastructure with flooding posing the greatest risk.
The latest Air Quality Annual Status Report states that the Towns major roads and congestion are the main sources of air pollution. The Council should be taking measures to discourage or ban van and lorry movements at certain times of day. Public Health England figures show 125 deaths in the Towns can be attributed to particulate pollution each year. In 2018, Four Elms Hill in Chattenden was made the area's latest Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), to improve air quality. Medway's three other AQMAs cover parts of central Medway, Rainham and Gillingham - although the latter, located in Pier Road, could be revoked if concentrations of nitrogen dioxide remain below the required air quality objectives.
Medway Council needs to promote its existing Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to address pollution in the region by encouraging people to use public transport, supporting sustainable development, and promoting eco-driving and car sharing. There should also be a formal arrangement between Medway Council and bus providers in the Towns to promote green transport methods.
Liberal Democrats strongly favour a pro-cycling policy and the need for more secure cycle parking and cycle paths across the towns. As traffic congestion account to Medway's emissions each year, cycling during peak hours would contribute to further emission reductions by reducing congestion and improving traffic flow across Medway.
Alan Wells, Prospective Liberal Democrat Candidate for River Ward states - "In order to meet infrastructure needs in Medway, development and master-planning should promote the benefits - both health and economic -of integrating cycling into the surrounding environment"
More bikes in a neighbourhood provides a safer road environment and children can also take advantage of slower and less dangerous traffic to cycle as well. Bikes do less damage to road surfaces than cars. Bike paths give people 'freeways' for the price of footpaths. Cycling conserves roadway and residential space, thereby providing opportunities for less cement and more plant life in urban areas.
The Council has a responsibility to prepare an up-to-date Local Plan, by adopting a robust green infrastructure plan for Medway which fully supports adaptation to climate change, improves flood management and prevention, improves urban air quality and provides the other important benefits which underpin sustainable economic growth.
We would ensure that people can enjoy recreational activities, and the health and well-being benefits these provide, without causing harm to Medway's most sensitive wildlife habitats and species; improve the connectivity of habitats to provide robust ecological networks; provide new allotments on 'brown build' sites to provide for an increased population.