Air quality in West Norfolk shows improvements

Air Monitoring station, air qualityThe Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk’s latest air quality report, Updating and Screening Assessment 2015, shows that there have been improvements in air quality within the borough.

Air quality levels across the borough for benzene, 1, 3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, particulates (PM10) and sulphur dioxide were examined and found to be below the legal limits.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring has shown that during 2014 the annual mean objective level was exceeded at only two locations; one of which was inside the existing town centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The other site was located at the bus station. At the bus station the hourly objective is most relevant and the annual mean measured suggests that it is unlikely that this would be exceeded at this location.

The borough has two AQMAs, one in the town centre and one at Gaywood clock.

Generally, there has been a decrease in NO2 levels in each AQMA, which shows an improvement in air quality. The new road layout along Hardwick Road and at the Southgates roundabout has improved traffic flows into the town centre and along London Road, helping improve air quality in this area. It is possible that the London Road part of the town centre AQMA can be revoked or amended due to these improvements. NO2 levels in the Railway Road part of the AQMA still continue to be close to objective levels.

Cllr Brian Long, borough council cabinet member for Environment, said: “Air quality in the borough continues to improve as all but one of the substances we monitor are at levels below the legal limit. I’m pleased that the work we have done to improve air quality in both areas has had significant results, especially along London Road. Nitrogen dioxide is still a concern though, so we continue to monitor our AQMAs very closely. We’re also continuing to implement the twenty measures in our Air Quality Action Plan that, in combination, aim to reduce traffic emissions in both the AQMAs”.

The report also considered new potential sources of air pollution including biomass boilers which are becoming increasingly popular. It was concluded that that none of the three biomass facilities reviewed, or other new potential sources, require further assessment.

The actions arising from the report are to continue current monitoring, and undertake further monitoring, at relevant receptors in the areas of Stoke Ferry and Page Stair Lane, King’s Lynn, using a Defra approved method to confirm existing concentrations; proceeding to a monitoring-based Detailed Assessment in these areas. The Detailed Assessment for the Page Stair Lane/docks area is already being undertaken by a consultant on behalf of the council.