Cornwall council’s plan will incorporate measures to tackle nitrogen dioxide in its three existing Air Quality Management Areas, while a fourth is also being proposed
Cornwall council has produced a new county-wide Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions. it announced yesterday (February 19).
The new AQAP was announced yesterday (February 19) by the local authority which consists of the former county council and all former boroughs and districts. The plan includes various measures to tackle traffic pollution including junction improvements, traffic management schemes, and proposals to improve the cycling and walking environment in Cornwall.
The plan incorporates existing AQAPs for two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) as well as a new plan for a third Cornwall AQMA declared in Tideford in May 2011.
Cornwall council declared an AQMA encompassing Camborne, Pool and Redruth in 2005 and an another AQMA in Bodmin in July 2008, as both areas were found to be in exceedence of the national objective for nitrogen dioxide (an annual mean of 40 micrograms per cubic metre).
All five monitoring sites for nitrogen dioxide in Tideford, measured levels of the pollutant in exceedence of the national objective in 2011. The annual mean concentration at one site in 2011 was 75 micrograms per cubic metre – the highest in the county – meaning a 52.7% reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels is needed to meet national objectives at the site.
Proposals for improving air quality in Tideford include replacing the bus fleet with cleaner stock by 2020, redesigning the road layout in the village and reducing the current speed limit of 40mph along the A38 through Tideford to cut down on queuing traffic.
A further AQMA is also being proposed for Gunnislake following a 2011 progress report sent to Defra, as all three sites in this area monitored annual mean nitrogen dioxide levels above the national objective in 2011. Further exceedences of the national objective in the county have also been found at several sites in Truro and St Austell.
According to the council, a majority of the approximate 5 million tourists who visit Cornwall each year travel by car, which is a major contributor to traffic emissions. During August 2010, traffic volumes for Cornwall were 25% higher than Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) values and 75% higher than values recorded in January 2010, the quietest month of the year.
In a statement announcing the new AQAP, the council said air quality in Cornwall was “generally very goodâ€? but that there are “hotspots in Bodmin, the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area and in Tideford where standards fail to meet national objectives.â€?
The council said amalgamating all existing AQAPs into one document will enable it to “develop, improve and support generic cross-cutting policies and actions which will holistically address air quality issues within Cornwall.â€?
The finalised AQAP follows a public consultation on a draft of the plan between November 14 2012 and January 14 2013. This included meetings with local councillors, residents, council officers and the Highways Agency (HA) among others.
Cornwall councillor Lance Kennedy, portfolio holder for public health and protection, said: “The health of the population of Cornwall is of paramount importance to us and consequently the improvement of local air quality is a priority. It is a key part of both the emerging local plan and health and wellbeing strategies which aim to reduce risks to health and advance the wellbeing of local residents.â€?
He added: “The action plan gives a range of interventions which will contribute towards tackling poor air quality and ensure that future activities, such as the regeneration of Camborne/Pool/Redruth and Bodmin contribute to continually improving the quality of the air in our county, and wellbeing and sustainability for our residents and visitors.â€?
More information on air quality in Cornwall is available on the council website.