Green MEP Keith Taylor visits University of Brighton

MEP’s air pollution warning

Green MEP Keith Taylor is visiting the University of Brighton’s new advanced air quality monitoring station, the first of its kind in the UK to detect harmful nano-sized particles and their gaseous precursors.

Mr Taylor, who represents the South East, said: “Public Health England statistics show poor air quality is responsible for an estimated 55,000 preventable deaths in the UK and it is thought to reduce people’s life MEP Keith Taylor and MP Caroline Lucas4_532c20f52e_kexpectancy by at least nine months across the Europe.

“The groundbreaking facility at Brighton, part funded by the European Union’s Joint Air Quality Initiative, is the first to detect particles that are capable of penetrating deeply into the human body where they can cause significantly harmful health effects.”

The university’s Air Environment Research team believe the station, on the Falmer campus, is “pushing the boundaries of our capabilities and enhancing our understanding of the harmful aiair quality  monitoring stationr pollutants we breathe”.

The team will be presenting Keith Taylor will their initial findings, three months after the centre was opened by Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas. She praised the university for its “trailblazing” research.

Keith Taylor, a vocal air quality campaigner, said: “I am delighted to be invited to see first-hand the absolutely essential work the team at University of Brighton is doing to investigate the harmful effects of air pollution. Although air pollution is quote often invisible it really is a massive concern. It is responsible for 55,000 preventable deaths in the UK, and is implicated hundreds of thousands of premature deaths.

“The right to breathe clean air is a fundamental. Yet thousands of lives in the South East are being shortened because the air is heavily polluted in many places, mostly by traffic. This is a symptom of a wider invisible public health crisis. The more we are able to understand about the pollutants we are facing the more equipped we will be to mitigate their effects.

“That the monitoring station has been funded by the EU reaffirms my belief that we are better placed to tackle the challenges of the 21st century, challenges, like air pollution, which have no respect for national boundaries, when we work with our neighbours. We need a collective approach to protecting people here in the UK and across Europe.”

For more information on the university’s environment research go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/lhp-research-groups/environment-and-technology/environmental-and-public-health/index.aspx

Morocco field trip

Temperatures are warming up for the Morocco field trip in four weeks’ time. Deciding what to pack for the Atlas Mountains is an issue: recent years have seen 30 degree temperatures, extreme rainfall and a metre of snow. Looking forward to it!

Students from 2015 in Morocco - snow in the Atlas Mountains

Students from 2015 in Morocco – snow in the Atlas Mountains

Volunteer for a good cause and gain valuable experience for your CV

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Staff and students have been lending the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust a hand planting hundreds of trees in the local river catchment. The trust were recently awarded funding to plant 5,000 trees in an upstream catchment of the River Adur. The trees will create valuable habitat, store carbon and control the river flows in the upstream riparian areas.

Dr Bilotta, who lectures in Physical Geography and Environmental Science in our school, has already volunteered. “Evidence suggests that current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction. It is predicted that future extinction rates will be up to 10,000 times higher. The crisis is caused almost entirely by us – humans. About 99% of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities; one of the key threats driving these extinctions is habitat-loss, particularly deforestation.

“In addition to causing habitat loss, evidence suggests that deforestation globally accounts for about 12% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions- roughly as much as the contribution from the world’s cars, planes, ships and trains taken together. These statistics are alarming, but we don’t have to sit back and watch – we can act locally to help reduce our impact.”

Matt Turley, is a PhD student in our school has also been volunteering on the project and has some useful advice.

“Volunteering with local conservation organisations is a great way to contribute to limiting these alarming trends whilst providing valuable opportunities to meet interesting people and gain useful experiences for your CV. The Ouse and Adur Rivers trust are one of many local organisations that are keen on receiving help from volunteers, and it isn’t just tree planting that they need help with. There are also other activities such as stream restoration and routine biological surveys, which are conducted throughout the year, for which assistance is required”.

If you would like to know more about how to get involved with The Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust you can find out about upcoming events here