Residents of the town of Lydney, Gloucestershire, are being asked for their preferred options to help improve the air quality in the centre of the town.
In July 2010, Forest of Dean District Council – which has its offices eight miles away in Coleford – declared an Air Quality Management Area in Lydney, in accordance with national air quality management policies.
The council said that environmental health staff have identified that nitrogen dioxide was slightly above national guideline amounts (as specified in the national air quality objectives) in the High Street area of Lydney, as well as other parts of the town. The main source of pollution was found to be from diesel vehicles.
Forest of Dean district council said it is now working with Gloucestershire county council to find ways to mitigate the problem of vehicle related air pollution and has started the consultation with local people. Lydney’s options include:
- strategies such as traffic management;
- vehicle restrictions;
- improvements to public transport;
- and the promotion of cycling and walking initiatives.
Councillor Martin Quaile, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Although it may be surprising to have an AQMA in the Forest of Dean, nitrogen dioxide levels are just over the threshold but we still have to look into it. We aim to produce an action plan that will set out how the council will reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in Lydney.”
The local authority has explained the problem to residents. In a statement it said: “In the UK, approximately 50% of the atmospheric nitrogen dioxide is associated with emissions from motor vehicles and 25% is from power stations. Larger and older vehicles, particularly diesels, produce more nitrogen oxides than newer ‘cleaner’ vehicles.”
Forest of Dean DC added: “Nitrogen dioxide is not generally a problem to healthy people unless it is increased to levels rarely seen in the Forest of Dean. However, it can cause problems to sensitive groups such as young children and people with asthma. Those people with respiratory illnesses may also be sensitive to increased nitrogen dioxide levels.”