Do next generation pollution barriers have a role to play?
Throughout our campaigning, we have always been clear that we aren't just about "Saving Rimrose Valley".
We have explored alternatives to road building which would not only protect Rimrose, but also remove HGVs and cars from existing routes.
For freight, this includes calling for greater use of rail and exploring innovative freight pipelines. For excessive car use, we champion any efforts by Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region which aim to tackle this, including better public transport provision and improved accessibility for active travel; AKA walking and cycling.
However, we must all recognise that the impact of pollution on our road network cannot be solved overnight.
Whatever does or doesn't happen with the Port of Liverpool Access road proposal in the medium to long term, issues around air pollution in our borough are happening right now, shortening people's lives, which is completely unacceptable, to all of us.
It could be many years before anything is resolved which is time we don't have when it comes to protecting our children's health.
In looking into what options might exist to protect people's health in the short-term, we recently came across SmogStop; the latest innovation in pollution barriers.
This is taken directly from their website:
SmogStop Barrier reduces air and noise pollution levels in surrounding neighbourhoods, and takes a two-pronged approach to reducing air pollution from major roads, highways and railways.
The patented aerodynamic design reduces pollution levels by enhancing dispersion so that neighbouring residents can breathe easier. At the same time, a proprietary coating on the barrier actually breaks down the NOx and VOCs that produce smog, transforming them into harmless by-products.
And yes, it also blocks traffic noise.
Independent studies prove that SmogStop cuts traffic emissions in half, while breaking down the key pollutants that create regional smog. Made from translucent acrylic, SmogStop lets the sun shine through. And best of all, this beautifully designed technology involves no electricity and no moving parts. Instead, it’s powered entirely by sunlight and the natural flow of air.
On the face of it, these sound promising.
You can explore the product and learn more about the technology by visiting their website here.
We have written to our Council Leaders, MPs and our Metro Mayor asking them to take a look at this technology and to consider whether it may be suitable for locations in South Sefton.
We have asked that their Transport, Highways and Public Health teams work together to explore this and any funding opportunities that might exist to deliver this, or a similar solution.
Of course, consultation on any such scheme is vital, so we're interested to know what you think.
Is this type of innovation something you would welcome, if it protected public health?
Are you aware of other, similar solutions which could protect our health in a similar way?
So called "living walls" like the example below (not forgetting trees!) would be a natural alternative.
Surely now is the time to be exploring all options?
Why not tell us your thoughts by interacting with us on social media, or email email@example.com