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Wiltshire council seeks to improve town’s air quality

Council launches 12 week consultation to obtain views from community in Devizes about extension of Air Quality Management Area, writes Will Date.

Residents are being invited to share their views on plans by Wiltshire council to monitor and improve air quality in the town of Devizes.

The local authority has identified that a number of areas in the town centre where air pollution levels for nitrogen dioxide from vehicle exhausts have exceeded the national legal limit.

A number of areas in Devizes town centre have exceeded national limits for nitrogen dioxide

The council plans to extend the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in several places and will submit an air quality action plan to Defra, detailing how it intends to reduce pollutant levels.

A 12 week consultation, ending on October 22, has been launched by the council, seeking views from residents on the proposals.

Devizes currently has one Air Quality Management Area to the west of the town centre, but five other areas have been identified that could potentially exceed national air quality standards: The Nursery, Northgate Street, St James Terrace, Southgate roundabout and Chantry Court/New Park Street.

The council is considering three options for a new AQMA:

  • Option 1: Includes all the areas mentioned and slightly extend beyond them. This could be extended further in the future if other ‘hot spots’ are identified.
  • Option 2: Covers all the areas mentioned and the centre of Devizes. This area is unlikely to be extended in the future as air pollution is not a concern outside of the town centre.
  • Option 3: Would see the AQMA extended beyond the centre of Devizes to include London Road and Hopton Industrial Estate – areas that currently do not have any air pollution and are not expected to.

Congestion

Wiltshire council’s cabinet member for public health and public protection, Keith Humphries, said: “We are very lucky that in Wiltshire the vast majority of the county’s air is extremely clean. However, we do have very small pockets in some of our towns where the air quality does exceed the national standards and this is often caused by traffic congestion at narrow points in the road.

“To help combat this we create air quality management areas so we are continually monitoring the situation and then develop action plans with local people to try and improve it. We hope the people of Devizes take the chance to help influence how we can take forward our plans to improve the air quality in the relatively small areas of their town where it is higher than average.”

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