20th Oct, 2017

Air quality move sparks alarm in Stratford

Catherine Thompson 12th Oct, 2017 Updated: 13th Oct, 2017

FEARS have been raised pollution levels in Stratford could rocket if council chiefs ditch safeguards.

Proposals are being considered to revoke the town’s Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) status, which are declared when pollutants in the air exceed recommended Government levels.

Following Stratford’s declaration as an AQMA in 2010, strategies adopted to reduce pollution included taking into account ‘public health’ in development planning, incorporating more green spaces, travel campaigns including lift sharing, and cycling courses in schools.

But as air pollutants no longer exceed Government levels, Stratford District Council is considering revoking the town’s AQMA.

That has prompted concern from Lib-Dems, and former mayor Coun Jenny Fradgeley is calling on the council to maintain the town’s AQMA status and also look at further ways to cut pollution.

Lib-Dem spokesman Coun Peter Morse said: “Stratford has seen a great deal of building in recent years, leading to more cars and more pollution.

“With all the plans for new housing estates the number of cars will only increase and I imagine the pollution levels will increase as well. I think it’s vital that we have firm plans to tackle this and that means keeping the Air Quality Management Area.”

He added a bus station to keep the buses out of the town centre could be an effective way of reducing levels.

A report to be considered by councillors on Monday (October 18) shows overall pollution levels below recommended limits.

Some areas however saw a rise during 2016, including Wood Street, Greenhill Street and Guild Street.

Levels were highest between the months of October and March when winter temperatures do not allow pollutants to disperse as easily.

But the report says despite a number of proposed new developments – including Long Marston Airfield, the South Western Relief Road, an Eastern Relief Road, and the Stratford Transport Package – following an analysis of available data, levels would not significantly increase.

The report reads: “The impacts of traffic generated by the proposed development scenarios have been shown to be acceptable at the worst-case locations assessed, with concentrations being well below the air quality objectives.

“This conclusion takes account of the uncertainties in future projections, in particular for nitrogen dioxide.”

It further concludes harmful vehicle emissions will be reduced over time as future advancements are made in technology.

A Warwickshire County Council report earlier this year acknowledged there were an estimated 269 deaths in Warwickshire each year caused by air pollution, putting it on a par with deaths caused by obesity and alcohol.

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