Cornwall council has announced plans to declare the town of Launceston in the east of the county as an air quality management area (AQMA).
The plans, which were put out for consultation today (16 October), have been put forward to address what the council has described as ‘excessive’ levels of traffic related nitrogen dioxide.
In one part of the borough, St Thomas Road, the annual mean concentration of NO2 has exceeded 75µg/m3, according to data for 2016 and provisional data for 2017 recorded by the council, following diffusion tube monitoring.
Launceston has a population of around12,500 as well as serving a large rural area surrounding it, council documents indicate.
An assessment report carried out on behalf of the local authority states that the town is largely developed around the Norman castle in the centre which has resulted in the development of a “complex and convolutedâ€? highway network typical of such a town.
Should the AQMA be established in Launceston, Cornwall council will be required to draw up an air quality action plan detailing measures it is going to take to address air quality in the town.
According to the council, establishing an AQMA is “an important first step in improving air quality as it ensures there is an action plan for the town and opens up funding opportunities for measures that could help to improve local air qualityâ€?.
Sue James, Cornwall council’s cabinet member for environment and Public Protection, said: “Cornwall Council’s priorities include making Cornwall greener and healthier, and improving air quality is an important part of this. The declaration of this new Air Quality Management Area will raise drivers’ awareness of harm caused by vehicle emissions and enable the Council to work with the people of Launceston to improve their air quality. Once the Air Quality Management Area is officially designated, through a legal order, we will start work on an air quality action plan for the town.â€?
The consultation period runs until 8 December.
There are eight other AQMAs in Cornwall, which include Bodmin, Camborne-Pool-Redruth, Camelford, Grampound, Gunnislake, St Austell, Tideford and Truro.