THE ARTICLE in Monday's Echo, "City air pollution above safe levels" was disturbing and no-one reading it could disagree with Cara's statement that "lack of action is not acceptable".

Those most damaged by the failure of authorities to seriously address the problem of air quality are, of course, the vulnerable in society including babies and children, the elderly and physically disabled.

Of these, the most at risk are those living on or close to busy roads who will be subject to high levels of pollutants for many hours at a time.

In Southampton we must take action urgently to improve those roads where residents live just a few metres away from polluting vehicles, such as Romsey Road and Bitterne Road West.

Improving air quality means reducing the number of vehicles using these roads, most urgently diesel vehicles although in reality all motor vehicles contribute to air pollution and even electric vehicles produce damaging emissions.

Those who object so strongly to the new cycle and bus lanes do not come up with an alternative way of achieving modal shift; they simply want to be allowed to continue polluting the air as they drive about.

Unfortunately, they don't just pollute the air for drivers, they pollute it for those who cycle and walk, many of whom do not own cars (one third of all households) and therefore contribute nothing to air pollution.

Itchen MP Royston Smith does have some good ideas for promoting e-bikes and e-scooters but, as other letter writers have pointed out, these need dedicated lanes on busy roads just as bicycles do. If we genuinely want to attract visitors into Southampton one of the most important things we need to do is clean up our air.

Who wants to spend a day in the city centre shopping, eating out and visiting some of our great historical attractions and art gallery, if it involves breathing polluted air all day?

Whatever action the council takes will be unpopular with some but for the health and well-being of all Southampton residents, and visitors, it must be taken.

Lindsi Bluemel