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Woodbridge junction no longer an air pollution problem, East Suffolk Council chiefs say

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A Woodbridge junction should no longer be considered an air pollution problem spot after falling levels of pollutants, East Suffolk Council chiefs have said.

The authority’s cabinet on Tuesday night agreed to launch a public consultation to revoke the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) at the junction of Lime Kiln Quay Road, Thoroughfare and St John’s Street.

The area was designated an AQMA in 2006 because nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels exceeded acceptable levels for six of the properties there, with 2007 studies indicating that was most likely from car emissions at the junction.

James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: East Suffolk Council.
James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: East Suffolk Council.

A report prepared for the cabinet meeting said NO2 levels had been falling and have been below the threshold for seven years now.

The report said Defra had indicated the area was now overdue for removal as an AQMA.

James Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for the environment said: “We believe clean air is a fundamental right of every citizen of East Suffolk, it’s a priority of our decision-making and it’s part of making sure we protect and champion environmentally sustainable communities.

East Suffolk Council headquarters.
East Suffolk Council headquarters.

“We meet all statutory requirements in East Suffolk, and for that we should be really grateful. We have over 72 locations across the district which we are monitoring , however all currently return results below legal requirements.

“Defra advised that since nitrogen dioxide levels have declined consistently we have been below objective levels for the past seven years and we should revoke this Air Quality Management Area without further delay.

“If we remove the Air Quality Management Area it doesn’t mean we will no longer monitor the area.

"Through our robust air quality action strategy we have many checks and balances in place and we will be monitoring air quality as we do across the whole of East Suffolk.”

Cllr Mallinder stressed that the team had modelled the future development of the former council offices in Melton and potential commercial vehicle use on the road from future developments, and found it wouldn’t have an impact that would be significant enough for an AQMA to remain.

He added that the council will be 'well placed to respond appropriately and quickly' if levels rise again.

An action plan was published in 2011, and road sensors were installed at the junction to manage the lights and prevent queuing traffic as much as possible.

A date for the consultation will be confirmed in due course.