Working on improving Colchester’s air quality

Whilst steps by Colchester Borough Council to tackle pollution have seen improvements to the borough’s air quality in key areas,  its 2018 Air Quality Annual Status Report shows there is still work to do.

Since 2012, four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) have been in place across the borough in areas where pollution was or had the potential to exceed national guidelines.

Now the annual Air Quality Annual Status Report, approved by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), shows measures put in place have seen a reduction in pollutant concentrations in one of the AQMAs which covers St Andrew’s Avenue and Harwich Road – meaning it can now be lifted.

However, it has also highlighted that changes to traffic management schemes in another of the AQMAs – at the East Hill end of the High Street – means its boundary needs to be expanded to include properties on the south side and residential properties on the north side up to Lewis Gardens. Colchester Borough Council is now working with the relevant authorities to address the cause and manage air pollution in this area.

Where an AQMA is identified, the council must develop an Air Quality Local Action Plan highlighting how they will improve air quality in the area.

Air quality and the impact that this can have on people’s health and lives is extremely important.  In view of this, Colchester Borough Council has developed and supports a range of projects and initiatives to help improve local air quality.

In 2012, the Council carried out detailed assessment into the boroughs air quality, and the  main source of local air pollution in Colchester was found to be from motor vehicles.

Cllr. Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Sustainability and Infrastructure, said: “We want to ensure our residents are able to live healthy lives and the fact that the number of AQMAs we have has declined is very encouraging, however we know that pollution and poor air quality does still exist in three areas.

“Air pollution is so harmful to people’s health and wellbeing and I would encourage everyone to consider the simple steps they could take to make a difference, such as turning off their engines while stationary.

“The East Hill end of the High Street is an excellent example of where ‘no vehicle idling’ at the traffic lights has the potential to have a positive impact on air quality and subsequently people’s health and lives.”

The latest Air Quality Status Report and information about air quality in Colchester and how this is monitored can be found on Colchester Borough Council’s website.