Council takes action to tackle air pollution

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Following extensive monitoring, plans to tackle air pollution in Chester city centre have been revealed by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The existing city centre Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) around the Boughton gyratory is to be extended to cover the area within the inner ring road from mid-April.

The Council has been monitoring air pollution levels in and around Chester city centre for a number of years and recent monitoring has shown that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are now above permitted levels in a number of areas immediately adjacent to the inner ring road. Based on the actual results from monitoring equipment, modelling of probable exceedances over an even wider area was undertaken in 2016, resulting in the extended AQMA now announced. This problem is not unique to the borough as councils across the UK have had to declare more than 700 AQMAs.

Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant produced by vehicles and other combustion sources that can result in poor health for people with pre-existing health issues; like lung or heart conditions, asthma or bronchial conditions. If your health is good, the air pollution in Cheshire West is unlikely to have any short term health effects.

Chester residents are being asked for their views on the extended AQMA that will tackle traffic pollution around Chester city centre and the consultation, to be launched on Tuesday, 21 March, will run until Monday, 17 April 2017.

The new AQMA will come into force in mid-April and, once formally declared, the Council then has 12 months to produce an Action Plan for the area. The plan will identify the different options to help improve air quality with the focus being on reducing traffic emissions and promoting alternative cleaner transport. Once the Action Plan is drafted, a second, 12-week consultation will take place, seeking the views of residents, businesses and community groups and engaging everyone in the mitigation measures.

The Council's Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne said: "Tackling poor air quality and improving the health of our residents is one of the Council's top priorities. This measure is seen as a positive and vital first step in improving air quality in Chester city centre. The new AQMA covers an extensive area, to give the maximum benefit for Chester.

"We are keen to hear from individuals and local groups to help us shape our Action Plan to make improvements that will benefit us all. Please get in touch if you are interested."

Residents and businesses in the affected area, along with any other interested parties are encouraged to get involved in the following ways:
Visit the Council's website at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/chesterairqualityconsultation
Email: environmentalprotection@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
Write to: Environmental Protection Team, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, Cheshire. CW7 1AH

Paper copies of the consultation documentation are available upon request by contacting the Environmental Protection Team by email or by phoning 0300 123 7038.

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