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Ipswich's Chevallier Street no longer considered pollution hotspot as Ipswich Borough Council amends town's air quality management areas




A key Ipswich junction is no longer considered a pollution hotspot and will be removed from the air quality management areas, according to a council.

But one of the town's busiest roads is having its designation extended because of continued problems.

Ipswich Borough Council's executive has agreed to amend three of its five AQMAs - areas designated as having poor air quality and requiring action in the town's action plan.

Fore Street has now been added to the Star Lane/College Street/Key Street air quality management area. Picture: Jason Noble
Fore Street has now been added to the Star Lane/College Street/Key Street air quality management area. Picture: Jason Noble

That includes a small portion of Chevallier Street being removed from the AQMA at the junction with Norwich Road and Valley Road, while the Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road/Chevallier Street junction will be removed from the AQMA designation entirely because nitrogen dioxide levels have not exceeded acceptable levels for six years now.

However, the AQMA for the Star Lane/College Street/Key Street one-way system is to be extended to cover some of Fore Street because it has been found to "exceed the annual acceptable level".

The town's two other areas - Crown Street/St Margarets Street/St Helens Street/Woodbridge Road, and St Matthews Street/Norwich Road between Civic Drive and Bramford Road, will both remain unchanged.

Labour portfolio holder for public protection, Alasdair Ross, said: "Ipswich Borough Council is committed to achieving the best level of air quality in Ipswich. To achieve this, we monitor air quality closely and work with our partners so that together we can reduce air pollution.

The junction of Norwich Road, Valley Road and Chevallier Street is one of Ipswich Borough Council's air quality management areas (AQMAs). Picture: Google Maps
The junction of Norwich Road, Valley Road and Chevallier Street is one of Ipswich Borough Council's air quality management areas (AQMAs). Picture: Google Maps

"Our officers do an exemplary job to continue to monitor and look to where we can make improvements to help, and then pass on actions to work with the county council to enable us to reduce the poor air quality in parts of the town.

"I look forward to the council publishing a revised Air Quality Action Plan in the next few months which will set out how we intend – with our partners – to work towards improving air quality in Ipswich, especially in the AQMAs."

However concerns have been raised over some of the changes.

Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Lockington questioned whether the housing growth and associated traffic from new homes meant AQMAs should not be removed or reduced.

The Northern Fringe Protection Group in its response to the consultation said: "IBC needs to produce evidence that there will be no detrimental impact of its growth plans on these AQMAs before it can duly consider reductions or revocations to them," adding: "growth plans will result in exceedances of air quality limits in and around existing Ipswich AQMAs over at least the next five years and these AQMAs must be retained accordingly".

The Save Our Country Spaces group stressed that one authority alone could not enact the change needed to reduce harmful air pollution levels.

Cllr Ross stressed that nitrogen dioxide levels would continue to be monitored in those areas as part of 90 locations around town where the air is assessed, but data indicated those areas did not need to remain AQMAs.

The Ipswich CAN collective of organisations, businesses and individuals campaigning for improvements has previously questioned how much progress has actually been made given the action plan was first penned 13 years ago, and urged the borough and Suffolk County Council to take more effective leadership together to address the issue.

Suffolk's Health and Wellbeing Board collective of councils and health organisations earlier this summer pledged to consider air quality health impacts in its future work.

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