Ipswich's worst pollution spots remain

AN ACTION plan to combat three “pollution hotspots” in Ipswich has been further delayed and will not be ready until at least September, The Evening Star has learned.

Neil Puffett

AN ACTION plan to combat three “pollution hotspots” in Ipswich has been further delayed and will not be ready until at least September, The Evening Star has learned.

Last July, the Star revealed there are three spots in town where there are high levels of the dangerous chemical nitrogen dioxide.

The problem areas - Chevalier Street at the junction with Norwich Road, St Margaret's Street and the Star Lane gyratory system - were identified in March 2006.

According to government guidelines an action plan should have been in place by last September however that deadline, and a subsequent deadline of last month, were missed.

The situation is being blamed on a lack of specialist consultants to help work out the best course of action for dealing with the problem.

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Louise Gooch, responsible for environmental services at Ipswich Borough Council, said because all district authorities have the same obligation over pollution hotspots, the specialists are in great demand.

“We are continuing to monitor across the borough to determine what air quality management areas remain and whether additional areas need to be declared.

“It seems from what we are picking up that air quality has actually improved in most instances.”

Mrs Gooch said a comprehensive breakdown of the reasons behind the high pollution levels at the three Ipswich sites needs to be compiled before an action plan can be drawn up.

Possible actions, depending on the outcome of the study, could include banning lorries from using particular routes or changing the time settings for traffic management systems such as traffic lights.

However Mrs Gooch said: “Until we know what the cause is, we cannot think about the solution.”

Nitrogen dioxide is a substance that can decrease lung function and increase the risk of respiratory problems, particularly in children.