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Lewisham declares sixth Air Quality Management Area

Crofton Park and borders with Forest Hill and Perry Vale in Lewisham to become Air Quality Management Area from August 30

Crofton Park and its borders with Forest Hill and Perry Vale will form part of Lewisham’s sixth Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) from August 30, the borough council has announced.

The concerns over air quality in the area centre mainly on Brockley Rise/Brockley Road (B218) and Honor Oak Park (B238) where the levels of nitrogen dioxide do not meet EU objectives.

Council map of Lewisham showing existing AQMAs in orange, yellow, pink, blue and purple - the new AQMA is shown in green

Council map of Lewisham showing existing AQMAs in orange, yellow, pink, blue and purple – the new AQMA is shown in green

According to the council, the main source of the pollutant in the area is motor vehicles, but the use of fuel for heating and cooking is also a contributing factor.

A detailed assessment of air quality in the area found that exceedences of both the annual (40 micrograms per cubic metre) and hourly (200 micrograms per cubic metre not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year) objectives for nitrogen dioxide were occurring in areas either side of Brockley Rise, Stondon Park, Brockley Road and Honor Oak Park.

As a result, a consultation with residents took place between September and October 2012, after which the council decided to also include the surrounding residential streets within AQMA as a precautionary measure, with 70% local people in support.

A report recommending an AQMA for the Crofton Park area then went before a council meeting in April 2013.

Five AQMAs already exist in the borough for both nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter PM10, which were declared in 2001. However, the new AQMA is for nitrogen dioxide only, as PM10 levels are below legal limits in the area.

Lewisham council is now in the process of preparing an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) over the next 12-18 months and a Further Assessment may need to be carried out – as is required under statutory regulations once an AQMA is declared.

The government is currently consulting on plans to remove obligations for councils in England to further monitor air quality once they have declared an AQMA as part of its drive to cut red tape and save money. As a result, Further Assessment of air quality in the Lewisham AQMA may not be necessary.

The government consultation runs until August 30 and the plans have attracted criticism from air quality campaigners and Labour MPs (see airqualitynews.com story).

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