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Air pollution level at key road through Sudbury remains above safe limit, study reveals

Air pollution at a key road through Sudbury remains above safe limits, analysis has revealed – but local authorities say new measures to combat the long-standing issue have shown encouraging results.

Research by Friends of the Earth shows that three separate sites in Cross Street exceeded nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air in 2018 – the latest year for which data is available – with the worst location recorded at 51.39mg.

Simon Bowens, clean air campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “Failing to fix air pollution costs lives. It also shows a failure to address the climate crisis.”

Cross Street pollution. (40285779)
Cross Street pollution. (40285779)

In an effort to address the problem in Cross Street, six parking bays were removed from January, on an 18-month trial period, as part of an air quality action plan by Babergh District Council and Suffolk County Council.

A district council spokeswoman stated the three areas recorded above safe air quality levels were adjacent to where the bays used to be, indicating their removal is intended to reduce traffic pinch points and congestion, thereby cutting vehicle emissions.

“Improving air quality in Babergh, especially where it exceeds Government targets, remains a priority for us to enable our communities to live bright and healthy futures,” she said.

“Very early indications in NO2 levels on Cross Street, since Suffolk County Council temporarily removed the bays, are encouraging.

“However, more samples will be needed over the coming year, to meet the national recording standard. This is to ensure any decision to remove the bays permanently is supported by robust evidence, based on typical road use.

“Civil parking enforcement, which was introduced in April, plays an important role to ensure parking across Babergh is legal and improving traffic flow, including Cross Street.”