Basingstoke MP Maria Miller met up recently with a group of students at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT) to hear about the air quality project which they had participated in earlier this year, in partnership with Stagecoach, Festival Place and local councils.
The BCOT students had put up diffusion tubes to measure nitrogen dioxide levels around Basingstoke Bus Station, with support from Hampshire County Council's My Journey Hampshire campaign and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. They had also held a “No idling” event in the bus station, as part of Stagecoach’s Green Week, which was highlighting air pollution.
The results of their investigations showed that there were very high levels of nitrogen dioxide at the entrance/exit to the bus station and Festival Place service area, and relatively high levels around the bus stands. The students reported that there had been a tremendous uptake of the anti-idling pledge by members of the public attending their information stand.
Maria said:“ I was pleased to meet the BCOT students and hear about the work they have done to highlight how all residents can be part of the solution to improve our air quality, by using more sustainable forms of transport, and switching off the car engine when they are stationary.”
“I was also very interested to hear about the results of their monitoring of air quality in the bus station, and their thoughts on how cleaner buses and more electric vehicles could be part of the solution. When I met the Stagecoach Managing Director earlier this year, we discussed the environmental benefits of new diesel buses. I called on Stagecoach to prioritise investment in these new buses for Basingstoke.”
Maria added: “I highlighted to the students the Friends of the Earth report which has just come out, ranking Basingstoke Borough Council as the 5th most “climate-friendly” out of 317 local authorities in England.”
BCOT Principal Anthony Bravo said: “The air quality monitoring project and no idling event was a fantastic opportunity for our Applied Science students to put the skills and knowledge they have learnt into practice. They were able to gain hands-on experience, contribute to a real-life science investigation and proactively support the drive for cleaner air in Basingstoke.”