Calls for more monitoring sites in Kesgrave for air pollution

Road works on Main Road (A1214) in Kesgrave which caused long delays for motorists may have an an im

Road works on Main Road (A1214) in Kesgrave which caused long delays for motorists may have an an impact on air quality - Credit: Gregg Brown

Calls have been made for fresh monitoring of pollution levels in Kesgrave after concerns were expressed by the town’s working party.

Grange Farm resident Becky Patten brought the issue to the attention of Kesgrave Town Council’s traffic and pedestrian management working group, after severe congestion at the Ropes Drive East roundabout during work by Anglian Water is believed to have created more pollution as a result of traffic being stationary for longer.

Currently, just one test tube measuring the nitrogen dioxide level is in place on Main Road, near the Kesgrave Carpets store.

But Miss Patten said more needed to be in place along busy routes such as Ropes Drive, Bell Lane and Through Jollys in order to accurately measure the pollution level.

“Nitrogen dioxide is a major irritant to the human respiratory system so people who have infections or asthma are going to be the first people who are impacted by pollution,” the 43-year-old international studies student said.

“It’s about making sure the town and district councils have protection in place and to make sure we are serving ourselves and our best interests.”

Current EU guidelines state that areas which record 40 micrograms per cubic metre or more must have an action plan in place to address air pollution.

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Kesgrave’s single test tube currently averages 29 micrograms, but some months during the winter have recorded levels at 47.6 micrograms.

Now, Miss Patten and the working group are looking to ask Suffolk Coastal District Council to put in place more test tubes in other areas to get a better reading.

It is understood there are two in Melton, two in Martlesham Heath and 14 monitoring sites in Woodbridge.

Miss Patten said: “Given that our population of 14,000 lives in close proximity to the A1214, and noting that residents are not being given the expected advance warning that street works on this road will cause high levels of congestion and emissions and so can not take measures themselves to mitigate its effects - I think it entirely appropriate that we have further nitrogen dioxide diffusion monitoring sites in the town to ensure that we are not being exposed to excessive levels of pollutants.”

Potential future plans for development off Bell Lane are understood to be another reason why the group is keen to monitor the levels accurately.

Miss Patten said: “With an action plan in place highways have to take air quality into account at things like street works to try and mitigate the effects of that, and if we are going above those levels we need an action plan in place.”

A spokeswoman from Kesgrave Town Council said it was investigating whether it could request more monitoring sites from Suffolk Coastal on behalf of the town council and working group, and see what information it could obtain.

In the meantime, air pollution monitoring is expected to be added to the town’s neighbourhood plan.