Which areas of Ipswich have improving or worsening air quality levels?
- Credit: Google Maps
A review of Ipswich's air pollution hotspots has begun - and council bosses say one area previously considered a problem is now reporting falling levels of pollutants.
Ipswich Borough Council's executive on Tuesday night agreed to launch a review of its five air quality management areas (AQMAs) - spots in town which are monitored because of high levels of nitrogen dioxide - as part of its action plan.
One area to be amended includes the Norwich Road, Chevallier Street and Valley Road junction.
A small portion of Chevallier Street will be removed because levels do not exceed those considered problematic, while the Star Lane/Key Street/College Street zone will be extended to cover a portion of Fore Street - which the authority said had recently been found to "exceed the annual acceptable level".
However, the plans also propose to remove an AQMA entirely from the Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road/Chevallier Street junction because "levels of nitrogen dioxide have remained below the objective level for several years".
A public consultation on the changes will now take place.
Labour portfolio holder for community protection, Alasdair Ross, said: "The council is working to improve air quality in our town.
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"Others need to play their part. We monitor air quality but making improvements is also the responsibility of Suffolk County Council and the government.
"The main cause of air pollution in Ipswich is traffic, and so we need the county council, who are responsible for most roads, to do better and for both them and the government to invest more."
He added that officers "are looking at all times to make those improvements".
The council said that data around the impacts of the various Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, which have reduced vehicle numbers on the roads in the last year, is due to be collated over the coming few months.
On the Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road/Chevallier Street area, Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said: "I am quite pleasantly surprised that it looks like in the monitoring data the numbers are going in the right direction.
"But I am a little bit worried and concerned it is not reflecting the true nature of the area.
"Considering a lot of traffic there leads up to air quality management area number one [Norwich Road/Chevallier Street/Valley Road] that is showing nox increases, it seems strange that one end of the road is decreasing and the other end is showing increases."
He called for further monitoring for six months or a year to gather more data for that area to ensure it was correct.
Oliver Holmes, from the Liberal Democrat group, questioned "why the council is only now committing funding to deliver its air quality action plan to improve chronic problems of air quality in the town when the first action plan dates back to 2008?"