News in brief

With news on: Preston Air Quality Management Area; Havering pollution text alerts; and Highgate air quality.

Preston to introduce Air Quality Management Area

Another Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) is set to come into force in Preston next month after the city council approved proposals at a committee meeting last week (January 30).

A map of the proposed AQMA on London Road in Preston (image: Preston city council)

A map of the proposed AQMA on London Road in Preston (image: Preston city council)

A report to the council’s environmental protection and licensing committee recommended the introduction of a new AQMA on London Road in the city after a detailed assessment found exceedances of nitrogen dioxide limits in the area.

The council currently has four AQMAs, although the new Area on London Road is being implemented to encompass existing AQMAs on New Hall Lane and Boughton, leaving the council with three AQMAs.

According to the council, most of the AQMAs are associated with main roads into Preston so there is ‘a need for a whole city approach rather than specific measures’.

The decision follows a consultation on the proposals to introduce another AQMA, although no responses to the consultation were received, according to the council.

The council said it would now look to organise a steering group to develop and Ari Quality Action Plan. The group will include its partner Lancashire county council and other interested parties such as Preston Bus.

A spokesman for the council said he expected the AQMA to come into force in March 2014.

Air pollution alert service launches in Havering

The London borough of Havering council has joined the regional free airTEXT service, which provides residents who sign up to the scheme with local air quality alerts on their mobile phone.

The airTEXT smart phone app provides forecasts of air pollution, UV index and pollen

The airTEXT smart phone app provides forecasts of air pollution, UV index and pollen

Any resident in the borough is eligible to sign up to the AirTEXT service, which sends out warnings via text message, email or telephone message whenever air pollution or pollen count reach levels which may impact on health.

The service will enable people with health issues such as asthma, emphysema, heart disease and angina to be able to take necessary steps and preventative measures when  air quality in Havering is poor, in order to reduce the negative health impacts.

Havering Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Councillor Lesley Kelly, said: “Air quality in Havering is good but many residents work elsewhere in London and the airTEXT service means they can set up alerts for anywhere in the capital. The alerts can be useful reminders to take medication or cut back on physical activity to allow for higher than normal pollution levels.”

London residents can sign up to the service by texting AIRTEXT to 78070 or by registering on the airTEXT website.

Camden Green Party research finds poor air quality

Air pollution in and around Highgate in North London is ‘very high’ and in many cases breaching legal limits, according to research by Camden residents and Green Party activists.

The research was carried out using ‘citizen science’ methods of measuring air pollution by installing diffusion tubes at 21 locations around Highgate Village, Highgate Newtown and Dartmouth Park during November and December 2013.

The worst air pollution was measured at the Gatehouse junction in Highgate Village, with 80 micrograms per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide monitored — exactly double the legal limits for the pollutant. A diffusion tube on Euston Road also showed similar levels, according to Camden Green Party.

Meanwhile, on Hampstead Heath, the average nitrogen dioxide level recorded was 39mg3, just below legal limit of 40.

The Green Party also said the results also showed that many of Highgate’s residential streets were around 10% above the legal limit, rising to 25-30% above the limit on larger and busier roads.

As a result, a public meeting with Highgate Ward councillor Maya de Souza to discuss the results and tackling the problem has been organised for 7pm, Friday March 14 at Highgate Library Civic and Cultural Centre Children’s Corner on Croftdown Road.


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