MEDICAL centres in Basingstoke and Deane are at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution, according to a campaign group.

New research undertaken by the British Lung Foundation, called Toxic Air at the Doors of the NHS, highlights the high levels of pollution surrounding GP surgeries and hospitals in the UK.

The report indicates that three GP surgeries in the centre of Basingstoke, and Basingstoke hospital, were above the 10μg/m3 average annual levels of air pollution outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Newly-formed group, the Basingstoke Clean Air Campaign, claims that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been dodging the issue of high air pollution and is calling for more action.

Martin Heath, from the Basingstoke Clean Air Campaign, said: “Every month, more and more reports come out on the dangers of air pollution.

“Every month, more and more people in our borough suffer poor health from the dirty air we are forced to breathe.

“We are proud of the borough in which we live – it should have the best air quality in the country; not some of the worst.”

Mr Heath also claims that following a high court order to reduce air pollution in the borough, little action is yet to be taken.

However, the borough council said the levels are not over the legal limit according to UK law, only according to the WHO. In the UK, the law is more lenient than the limit recommended by WHO - 25μg/m3 instead of 10 μg/m3 for an annual average.

The borough council said that the levels registered by the British Lung Foundation follow the WHO model and do not match its own monitoring system Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment a the borough council Councillor Hayley Eachus said: “We constantly monitor and assess air quality and there are currently no areas in Basingstoke and Deane that exceed national air quality standards.

“We are aware that modelled data shows a predicted small exceedance of the World Health Organisation’s limit for fine particulate matter in some areas of the borough. We recognise the importance of good air quality and, working with our partners, we are taking action borough-wide.

“Council vehicles have become more environmentally friendly, with a new fleet of waste collection vehicles and a £2 million investment in new and greener replacement vehicles for the street cleansing and grounds maintenance teams. With Hampshire County Council, we’re working to develop a new transport strategy aimed at promoting sustainable transport and mobility across the borough.” and we have recently introduced a new taxi licensing scheme which includes a maximum age limit for vehicles. Further measures are also being considered to encourage licenced drivers to switch to low emission vehicles. Alongside the county council, we work with local schools to raise awareness of air pollution and to fund air pollution monitoring at individual schools. We meet regularly with local environmental groups and will continue to work with them to help reduce air pollution and to raise awareness of the importance of air quality.”

Hampshire County Council said it is aware that air pollution is an issue across the whole county, and is working with local authorities to tackle the problem.

Councillor Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at the county council, said: “While air quality across Hampshire is generally good, there are areas where improvement is needed, including around the A339 in Basingstoke.

“We are working with our partners, including Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in this particular area, on plans which will improve air quality for residents in the long term.”