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Suffolk Coastal details nitrogen dioxide progress

Suffolk Coastal council has unveiled plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions in the Stratford St Andrew area, after reporting that its air quality standards have improved borough-wide.

The council – which is also the constituency of the government minister responsible for air quality policy, Therese Coffey – has this week released its 2016 annual status report, detailing the extent of air pollution across the district.

The report suggests that air quality across the district is ‘generally very good’, although three areas of high pollution concentrations do exist within the borough.

It states: “The main source of emissions, within the majority of the district, is road traffic which means that the main pollutants of concern in Suffolk Coastal are nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

“Within the town of Felixstowe, emissions from and associated with the Port of Felixstowe are also a large source of these two pollutants. There are, however, three small localised areas within the district where the national limits set for nitrogen dioxide are exceeded.”

The areas, at Woodbridge and on the A12 at Stratford St. Andrew both have declared Air Quality Management Areas, which are seeking to improve the level of emissions at the two hotspots.

AQMA

A further AQMA close to the Port of Felixstowe had been declared in 2009, however as a result of successful actions to reduce emissions at the site, an application to revoke the AQMA was submitted in October.

Further measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions at Stratford St Andrew are being explored, with the council having published details of its draft air quality action plan for the area.

These include moving an existing 30 mph speed sign further south – which aims to bring about an overall speed reduction in the area, and is expected to be completed later this year. It is hoped that this could result in a reduction in concentration of nitrogen dioxide by up to 2 μg/m3 in the impacted area.

Other longer term measures include the erection of vehicle activated signs and speed cameras to further reduce the average speed of drivers in the area.

Cllr Carol Poulter, cabinet member for the Green Environment, said: “The report confirms that across the district our air quality remains generally good, with just two very specific areas of concern.

“These are the declared Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in Woodbridge, and on the A12 at Stratford St. Andrew.

“The problem in both areas relates to the pollutant nitrogen dioxide which is an irritant of the respiratory system and can adversely affect people’s health – particularly those who, for example, have existing heart or lung conditions or breathing problems.

“The really good news is that our monitoring reveals that the nitrogen dioxide levels within the Woodbridge AQMA has reduced in recent times, and levels recorded were below the standards set by the government.

“This trend also continues to be seen within and around the revoked AQMA at Felixstowe with nitrogen dioxide concentrations continuing to fall due to considerable emissions reduction projects being undertaken by the Port of Felixstowe.”

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