Camelford Council has released a consultation on its draft action plan which sets out steps which could improve air quality in the town.
It comes after the council found that air pollution levels in the town are “higher than they should beâ€? in a 2016 air quality assessment.
Following the assessment, it was concluded that an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) should be declared. The boundary of the AQMA encompasses the whole town.
Sue James, Cornwall council’s cabinet member for environment and protection, said the council has put the Air strategy in place to develop a range of air quality projects to help improve air quality across the Duchy. She said: “These include minimising emissions from our bus and works vehicle fleets, requiring electric vehicle charging points in new homes and introducing car clubs. Despite this, Camelford is now facing the impact of vehicle emissions in a confined area close to where people live.â€?
Residents have until April 2 to submit responses to the draft action plan. The 20 page document sets out the main source of emissions, which show that 56% come from diesel cars and LGVs.
In total, 14 measures were suggested which ranged from working with partners to negotiate an alternative HGV route, at a cost of £1 million, and to promote sustainable school travel, which was not priced.
The stand-out measure was to work with partners to investigate a bypass option, which if taken up will cost £34 million. The report stated that a bypass would bring “considerable benefitsâ€? to air quality through a reduction in traffic and HGV vehicles, as well as reduced delays.
The report considers that the construction of a bypass of Camelford would be a suitable long term solution to addressing the issues of increased traffic flows and poor air quality currently evident within the town centre.
However, “there is considerable further work required to inform a funding applicationâ€?.
The report recommends that further funding is sought for a detailed feasibility study which would include the development of an Outline Business Case to assess the economic viability of the scheme. It is anticipated that funding in the region of £1m would be required for the Outline Business Case with timescales for delivery of between 18 months and 2 years from commissioning.
Other proposals include encouraging other modes of transport and upgrading the bus fleet, including the introduction of newer and cleaner vehicles and technologies.
The council is measuring nitrogen dioxide at several locations through the town using ‘diffusion tubes’. These are small plastic tubes that sample for one month before being sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Councillor for Camelford, said: “The draft plan includes 14 measures that could help improve air quality in Camelford. These range from simple changes like anti-idling zones where people are asked to switch off their engines when their cars are queueing in traffic right up to investigating the possibility of a bypass, which would require Government support and funding.
The consultation can be seen at: Camelford draft plan