Data reveals air quality improvement in Uttlesford
PUBLISHED: 09:21 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 August 2018
Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has published its 2018 air quality report and found that there was an improvement at monitored sites around the district last year.
The district council is required by the Government to review and assess air quality, and submits a report to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) each year.
The latest air quality report, which covers data gathered in 2017, shows a reduction in pollutants at the majority of the sites monitored compared to 2016. The latest figures also show that there were no exceedances of the air quality objectives – meaning the level of pollutants did not go above the national standard in 2017.
Air quality monitoring is undertaken at three automatic monitoring stations located in Saffron Walden, and currently at 29 other sites throughout the district using diffusion tubes.
Councillor Susan Barker, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “Air quality is an extremely important issue for our residents and the latest data is encouraging.
“However we must, of course, be mindful that there a number of variations which can influence the level of pollution, such as atmospheric conditions and vehicle emissions. It is, therefore, important that we continue to view trends over the long term and ensure that air quality does not deteriorate.”
Traffic emissions are the most significant source of air pollution in the district. Within Saffron Walden, in common with many market towns, the historic layout of the town results in problems with traffic flow and congestion, particularly at peak times.
While air quality across the district is generally good, there are parts of Saffron Walden where levels have exceeded national standards in the past. As a result, the central area of the town is designated as an Air Quality Management Area.
The council adopted a five-year action plan in 2017 which contains a number of measures aimed at reducing pollution levels at key junctions within the area. The action plan has a focus on partnership working with Essex Highways to improve junction capacity and ease traffic flow, and also includes the development of planning policies and a supporting technical planning guidance document.
The air quality 2018 annual status report, which includes progress on the measures to improve air quality, is available to view on the council website at www.uttlesford.gov.uk/airquality.