Meadowhall extension 'will lead to more deaths through pollution' say Sheffield Greens
Green Party councillors say the proposed Meadowhall extension will lead to more premature deaths caused by pollution.
Plans to build a Â£300 million leisure hall at the shopping centre in Tinsley will be considered by councillors tomorrow, with council officers recommending approval.
A report to committee accepts that air quality will get worse, adding a year to the time it takes to meet targets set for the area, which is already one of the worst in Sheffield.
Officers say the overall benefits of the extension outweigh the 'significant concern' of increased pollution.
But Green councillors and supporters say this is unacceptable.
Eamonn Ward, who objected to the planning application, said: “We know how popular Meadowhall is and recognise the arguments for job creation but increased air pollution deaths linked to major developments in the east end are not an acceptable price to pay.
"Everyone involved knows that business models based on access via the M1 have massive health impacts and will add to the 500 premature deaths a year caused by air pollution in Sheffield.
"Access will continue to be mainly by car as Meadowhall have already maximised the use of cleaner transport options for customers and staff. The application makes it clear that the Meadowhall extension will bring more traffic and worsen air pollution."
Meadowhall co-owner British Land has agreed to spent millions improving the roads around Meadowhall. Council officers said their modelling showed traffic would actually flow better as a result, even with more cars on the road.
The council says national phasing out of high polluting vehicles should make air quality better.
But this does not impress Mr Ward.
He said: "Tinsley is in Darnall council ward which has very high levels of asthma, respiratory and circulatory disorders and cancer linked to high levels of poverty.
"It has a much higher than average number of young children who are more vulnerable to air pollution, often leading to asthma and a lifelong reduction in lung capacity."
He added: Sheffield can’t just make road changes to allow expansion in the east end knowing that it will worsen the current public health crisis and cause more premature deaths in and around Tinsley."