Air Quality Management Area declared in Tilbury

An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) has been declared encompassing several roads next to Tilbury Docks in Essex due to high levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions from road traffic.

Unanimously approved by Thurrock councillors at a cabinet meeting last week (November 5), the AQMA affects 78 retail and residential properties in Tilbury on Dock Road, Calcutta Road and St Chad’s Road.

Thurrock council map showing boundaries of the new AQMA, declared close to Tilbury Docks

Thurrock council map showing boundaries of the new AQMA in purple, close to Tilbury Docks

According to a council report, nitrogen dioxide levels were monitored along the three roads as breaching the national annual average limit for the pollutant, which is 40 microgrammes per cubic metre.

The council will now need to draw up an Air Quality Action Plan to look at tackling air pollution in the area close to the busy Tilbury Docks. The Docks operate seven days a week and are used for the import and export of goods by both regional and national businesses.

According to the council’s community development officer, Rebecca Price, the introduction of the AQMA will “support the wellbeing of some vulnerable members of the local community including those suffering from health conditions affecting the upper-respiratory system”.

In a report to the council, she adds: “An AQAP will tackle existing air quality problems and help to bring down levels for nitrogen dioxide which may reduce the number of health impacts for people.”

In April 2001, Thurrock council declared 20 AQMAs where levels of NO2 and PM10 were breaching national limits due to road traffic emissions, particularly from Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).

After a review in 2004, this number of AQMAs was reduced to 15 and a revised Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) produced. However, the AQMA declared last week is the first in the Tilbury Docks area.

The new AQMA is close to the busy shipping docks at Tilbury in Essex

The new AQMA is close to the busy shipping docks at Tilbury in Essex

The decision follows the news in August that a scheme – managed by transport consultants Transport & Travel Research Ltd and backed by Thurrock council – aimed at reducing emissions from business vehicles in the area had signed up its 50th member (see airqualitynews.com story).

Local air quality campaigners were upset last year when Thurrock council granted planning permission for modifications to Tilbury Biomass Power Plant, enabling the facility to remain open for another 12 t 15 years when it had been set to close in 2013 (see airqualitynews.com story).