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Sutton to declare Air Quality Management Area

Sutton council is consulting on plans to declare the entire borough an AQMA and introduce more air quality monitoring sites

The entire London Borough of Sutton is to be declared an Air Quality Management Area under plans announced by the council on Monday (March 4).

However, the local authority said the proposals, which have been sent out for consultation with residents, were “not an indication of declining air quality levelsâ€?.

Air quality monitoring cabin on Woodcote Road in Wallington, Sutton

An air quality monitoring cabin on Woodcote Road in Wallington, Sutton

Sutton currently has three AQMAs, one of which was declared in 2000 to cover most of the main roads in the area. This was extended in 2003, before a third encompassing the whole of the Beddington Lane industrial area was declared in 2010.

However, under the new proposals put together by the environment and neighbourhoods committee, these AQMAs will be revoked and replaced with one to cover the entirety of the borough.

These proposals have been sent out for consultation with Sutton residents, the Greater London Authority, the Environment Agency, Defra and neighbouring boroughs. The council then intends for its Air Quality Management Order 2013 and the new AQMA to apply from April 1 2013 after the consultation ends.

Monitoring

There are currently four monitoring sites for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in Sutton, and under the proposals a fifth will be added on Beddington Lane near the Tramlink station. After this, the council said, Sutton will then have more monitoring sites than any of its neighbouring boroughs.

The number of diffusion tubes, which are attached to the side of buildings to measure air quality, will also increase under the plans from the current seven to 17. The council said many of these extra tubes would be put on schools near busy roads.
‘easier to administer’

According to the council, declaring the whole borough an AQMA will make it “easier to administerâ€? the local air quality management regime, allow more stringent regulation of all new sources of pollution in the borough, and also provide benefits in respect of development control.

The council said: “It must be emphasised that air quality standards are only exceeded alongside or close to some of the busy main roads in the borough, and this proposal is not an indication of declining air quality levels.â€?

Priority

Sutton councillor Jill Whitehead, chair of the environment and neighbourhoods committee, added: “The health of residents is an absolute priority and we are absolutely committed to keeping a very close eye on levels of pollution.â€?

Simon Birkett of campaign group Clean Air in London had previously called for Sutton and several other London boroughs to declare new AQMAs or extend existing ones in November 2012 (see airqualitynews story).

Those interested in commenting on the proposals are advised to visit the council’s consultation website or contact the council’s air quality officer Eddie Stedman via email on eddie.stedman@sutton.gov.uk before March 27 2013.

More information on air quality in Sutton is available on the borough council website.

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