Preston seeks air quality improvements from bypass

City council approves Action Plan to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels in village of Broughton, just north of Preston

Preston city council is hoping a proposed bypass road set for completion in 2017 will greatly reduce traffic and air pollution within its Broughton Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

Council cabinet members last week (November 5) adopted an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for the Broughton AQMA, which along with the proposed bypass includes several actions for tackling nitrogen dioxide levels that are currently breaching national limits.

An Air Quality Action Plan has been agreed by Preston city council to tackle NO2 levels in Broughton

An Air Quality Action Plan has been agreed by Preston city council to tackle NO2 levels in Broughton

One monitoring station in Broughton — a village just north of Preston — measured average annual levels of nitrogen dioxide as high as almost 60 microgrammes per cubic metre (ugm3). The national limit is 40ugm3.

The Plan, declared in May 2012, blames the high NO2 levels on “transportation sources” and adds that the pollutant “is also being emitted directly from diesel vehicles fitted with particulate filters”.

According to the plan, the most significant contributor to NO2 pollution at all but one of the six stations within the proposed AQMA was heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), followed by emissions from cars.

The largest contributor at the other station was background emissions, which is plan states is “likely” due to its distance from the A6 carriageway.

A public consultation on the AQAP was held in June 2014, with a leaflet posted to each property within the AQMA setting out proposed actions for tackling the problem.


There are seven actions contained within the plan, largely focused around the planned new Broughton Bypass road, improving capacity at the M55 Junction 1 roundabout and educating residents about the consequences of poor air quality.

Planning permission has been granted for the council to construct the 2km bypass and work is expected to begin in autumn 2015, with the road set to be fully open by spring 2017.

And, according to the council, constructing the bypass will reduce traffic travelling through the centre of Broughton on Garstang Road by up to 90%.

Based on 2017 forecasted monitoring data, the Broughton AQAP states that completion of the bypass could see reductions in annual average levels of NO2 of as much as nearly 30ugm3 on some sections of Garstang Road and would bring all sections along this road into compliance with national limits.

The seven actions contained within the plan are:

  • The M55 Junction 1, capacity improvements to the roundabout.
  • The construction of the Broughton Bypass (Northern Link).
  • The construction of the Broughton Bypass (Southern Link).
  • The construction of the Preston Western Distributor Road.
  • The construction of the Cottam Parkway Railway Station
  • A new Public Transport Priority Corridor (Broughton to the City Centre)
  • To explore ways of involving the community in understanding the consequences of air pollution in their neighbourhood and supporting them to avoid walking/cycling in the area particularly at peak times.

The planning application for the Broughton Bypass states: “Reduced traffic on Garstang Road through the centre of Broughton is predicted to lead to improvements in safety and amenity from the effects of traffic, noise and pollution and the creation of a better environment for residents, shoppers, pedestrians and cyclists.”


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