Cornwall council has formally declared Truro as the county’s sixth Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) after monitoring results showed “excessiveâ€? levels of air pollution in the city.
According to the council, the entire city of Truro was formally declared an AQAP earlier this month (July 1) due to excessive levels of traffic-related nitrogen dioxide, with the largest contributor being cars and lorries travelling on the A390 road.
The council’s detailed assessment of Truro air quality confirmed poor air quality at several locations along the A390, primarily at Highertown and Tresawls Roads, as well as the B384 Kenwyn Road.
The five other AQMAs named across Cornwall since 2005 are St Austell, Gunnislake, Tideford, Bodmin and Camborne-Pool-Redruth.
According to the council, the latest declaration highlights the Cornwall’s commitment to Truro as an “area for improvement in air qualityâ€? and an action plan (AQAP) is now being prepared with a likely publication date pencilled in for next year.
It follows a consultation over the AQMA earlier this year, and there will then be a further public consultation over the draft AQAP, which will include measures aimed at improving local air quality.
Geoff Brown, Cornwall council’s portfolio holder for communities said: “The declaration of this new Air Quality Management Area is an important positive step towards improving the quality of the air in Cornwall, and the well-being of our residents and visitors.â€?
Allan Hampshire, head of public protection and business support at the council, said: “Air pollution is amongst the top 10 causes of mortality in the UK, with nearly 30,000 people dying prematurely each year as a result of exposure to air pollution. While many people think Cornwall has clean unpolluted air the declaration of a 6th air quality management area in the county confirms that this is not necessarily the case, however the declaration is an important step towards improving air quality within Truro and with it the health of those living and working in the city.â€?
In February 2013, Cornwall council introduced a county-wide Air Quality Action Plan to tackle NO2 emissions, which included measures such as replacing the bus fleet with cleaner vehicles by 2020 and reducing speed limits (see AirQualityNews.com story).