Rossendale council in Lancashire has unveiled plans to tackle air pollution within two ‘hotspots’ in the borough, after pollution levels were found to be close to exceeding recommended limits.
Launched last month, the Air Quality Action Plan has been put together following a consultation period in late 2015.
The proposals, drawn up by the University of the West of England (UWE) on behalf of the council, are aimed at reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from road traffic at sites at Manchester Road, Haslingden and Bacup Road, Rawtensall
Outlining the plans, Councillor Barbara Ashworth, portfolio holder for customer services and health, wrote: “The air quality challenges faced by Rossendale are primarily due to exhaust emissions from vehicles. As such, European and National efforts to improve vehicle emissions standards, a new, relocated bus station, better signage and new technologies to direct traffic away from congestion, a recent successful grant award for cleaner bus engine technology and the demolition of buildings on Bacup Road should see the levels continue to fall.
“In the medium term, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, changing and improving traffic flows around our major routes and improved non-car connectivity from buses, trains and light rail should help Rossendale to improve the health and wellbeing of its communities.â€?
Options put forward by the council for the Bacup Road area include limiting the access of council fleet vehicles – such as refuse collection vehicles – to ‘essential’ use only, thus reducing the flow of traffic on the road. The council has also recommended only allowing through access to the area to HGVs making deliveries and amending signage to divert traffic along alternative routes.
For Manchester Road – an area which the council claims is ‘prone to congestion’ –Rossendale has proposed a strategy of encouraging alternative transport modes, particularly for school journeys in the area. This would include the promotion of ‘active travel’ methods including walking and cycling as well as encouraging bus use.
Proposals have also been put forward to apply a public spaces protection order to reduce engine idling in the area.
Work is currently ongoing in Rossendale to retrofit the borough’s fleet of 38 buses to reduce emissions. The council was awarded a £485,600 grant last year through the Department for Transport’s Clean Bus Technology Fund, with the council having appointed Eminox Ltd to complete the conversion. Work is expected to be finished this summer.