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Rochford to introduce Air Quality Management Area

An AQMA proposed for Rayleigh town centre by Rochford district council in order to combat traffic pollution

Rochford district council is proposing to introduce an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Rayleigh town centre in an effort to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions from traffic.

The annual average level of NO2 is just over the national limit of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre in some areas of the town centre, and while there was a small reduction in levels of the pollutant in 2012, according to the council, there has since been no further improvement.

An AQMA is to be introduced to tackle air pollution in Raleigh town centre

An AQMA is to be introduced to tackle air pollution in Raleigh town centre

As a result, the council is holding a public consultation in the Rayleigh area to determine the exact boundaries of the proposed AQMA.

Affected roads currently include Crown Hill, Eastwood Road, High Road, High Street, Hockley Road and Websters Way. However, it is possible that a proposed area including these roads could be expanded depending on the outcome of the consultation.

Once the AQMA has been introduced, the council, in consultation with highways officers from Essex county council will contribute towards creating and Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to tackle vehicle emissions in the zone.

In Essex, there are currently 15 AQMAs within six local authorities. These vary in size, with one identifying 15 separate locations where nitrogen dioxide exceeds the prescribed annual mean level. Another consolidated three previous AQMAs.

Rochford district council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Keith Gordon, said: “I hope that by introducing an AQMA in Rayleigh town centre we can drive down pollution, in the interests of all those who live, work in, or visit the town.

“I feel that is important that as a council we take a proactive approach in monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels, and then take action where necessary. It is also critical that we get as much input as possible from residents and businesses to ensure we address these issues and ensure Rayleigh town centre remains a pleasant environment. For this reason, I would urge everyone to take part in the consultation.”

The consultation on the AQMA ends on November 14 2014.

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