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Air pollution on downward trend in East Herts

Air pollution in three key areas of East Herts has dropped in the past five years.

Air pollution monitoring figures just released as part of East Herts Council's 2018 Annual Status Report show that all three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in the district have experienced significant drops in air pollution.

The council is working with Hertfordshire County Council and residents to bring pollution levels in the AQMAs down to the national air quality target of an annual average of no more than 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre. 

While traffic levels are at an all-time high across Hertfordshire, nitrogen dioxide levels have been steadily dropping in East Herts' AQMAs.

Air quality around Gascoyne Way in Hertford has now dropped to 37.1 micrograms, well below the national target.

At Hockerill junction in Bishop's Stortford the figure is now only just above the target at 41.8 micrograms, with air pollution in Stansted Road now below the target at 39.6 micrograms.

However there is still some way to go at London Road, Sawbridgeworth where levels, while dropping from 53 micrograms in 2013, currently stand at 44.6 micrograms.

Executive member for environment and the public space Graham McAndrew said: "We're delighted to see decreasing air pollution in our key monitoring areas but we don't want to be complacent so we're working hard to continue this trend."

Recent projects have included an e-car club which is being trialled by council staff before it's rolled out for public use with e-cars being available in Hertford and Bishop's Stortford.

The council belongs to an air alert system, which people can sign up to for free and will provide alerts when poor air quality is detected. The scheme, launched on March 1, also gives people advice on how they can best avoid exposure.

In the coming year the council is looking to put together a supplementary planning document which will provide guidance on minimising the environmental impact of developments in terms of air quality. It will:

·         reinforce the council's aim of minimising air quality impacts from new developments

·         ensure all new developments follow sustainable design principles to help improve air quality where possible and to maximise opportunities for non-car modes of travel

·         adopt the "polluter pays" principle - ensuring suitable measures are taken to mitigate any negative effects of developments.

 

March 11 2019