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No pollution problem in Douglas? 'Prove it', says councillor

Bentley calls for regular tests for reassurance

A Douglas councillor has called on government to prove there's no air pollution problem in the capital by conducting regular tests.

It comes after the environment minister, Geoffrey Boot, refused to commit to monitoring more than once every two years, despite pressure from Tynwald members.

Bill Henderson, Bill Shimmins and Ralph Peake paid for their own air quality testing to be undertaken at Quaterbridge, revealing EU safety limits were broken in December.

That month the levels of nitrogen dioxide surpassed the 40μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) cap deemed safe to humans before serious health damage is caused.

In January this year, pollution was close to breaking this limit again at 39.93μg/m3.

Despite these findings, Mr Boot insists that when his department did continuous monitoring before 2009, no problems were identified, and biennial tests since then have shown no significant change.

Douglas Councillor Andrew Bentley is a representative of Derby Ward, one of the most densely populated areas of the capital, which includes Quarterbridge and Lord Street.

He says if these limits were broken in neighbouring countries, authorities would be obliged to tackle the issue, not ignore it.

Mr Bentley, who's also a member of the Isle of Man Green Party, says hundreds of people live and work in these areas and the Council needs reassurance from government that pollution isn't a major problem.

He's been speaking to Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne:

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