Single air quality management area to benefit the whole town centre

Published: Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Recommendations for a single town centre air quality management area (AQMA) are set to be discussed by Cabinet on Wednesday, 13 September.

The proposal for a town centre wide AQMA comes after monitoring identified higher levels of nitrogen dioxide at Northgate Bus Station, The Drapery, Abington Square and Wellingborough Road.

It is suggested that a more coordinated and holistic approach to tackling these levels could be achieved by joining these newly identified locations with current AQMA’s  in the central part of the town to make one single, town-centre-wide area.

On top of the increased air quality monitoring that the AQMA will bring, the Council is also bringing forward the implementation of a low emissions strategy.

The strategy will focus on promoting and supporting the use of low emission vehicles across the town, as well as investigating the creation of a Clean Air Zone in Northampton.

Clean Air Zones are generally declared in large cities, where congestion can cause wide spread air pollution. Although, this is not currently needed in Northampton, proactively implementing the programme in the town will promote best practice and help avoid wide spread issues in the future.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “Declaring a single AQMA in Northampton town centre is the most beneficial option to assist our plans for improving the air quality.

“The single area will mean we can tackle any issues in a joined-up manner and will avoid the potential pitfalls of moving problems around the town which adding more, smaller areas, could bring.

“Alongside this, we will be working with partners later this year to implement a borough-wide low emissions strategy. This will use policy changes and the introduction of initiatives, such as public charging points for electric cars, to encourage more individuals and companies to use low emission vehicles.”