Longer stretch of busy Ipswich route labelled a pollution hotspot

Fore Street in Ipswich

Fore Street has now been added to the Star Lane/College Street/Key Street air quality management area - Credit: Jason Noble

A larger section of one of Ipswich's busiest road routes is to be considered a pollution hotspot - because of continued problems with air quality.

Ipswich Borough Council has decided to amend three of its five Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

A small portion of Chevallier Street being removed from the AQMA at the junction with Norwich Road and Valley Road, because it is no longer considered a hotspot.

The Bramford Road/Yarmouth Road/Chevallier Street junction will be removed entirely because nitrogen dioxide levels have not exceeded acceptable levels for six years now.

But the Star Lane/College Street/Key Street one-way system AQMA is to be extended to cover some of Fore Street, because it has been found to “exceed the annual acceptable level”.

The town’s two other areas – Crown Street/St Margarets Street/St Helens Street/Woodbridge Road, and St Matthews Street/Norwich Road between Civic Drive and Bramford Road - will remain unchanged.

Labour portfolio holder for public protection, Alasdair Ross, said: “Ipswich Borough Council is committed to achieving the best level of air quality in Ipswich.

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"To achieve this, we monitor air quality closely and work with our partners so that together we can reduce air pollution.

“Our officers do an exemplary job to continue to monitor and look to where we can make improvements to help, and then pass on actions to work with the county council to enable us to reduce the poor air quality in parts of the town.

“I look forward to the council publishing a revised Air Quality Action Plan in the next few months which will set out how we intend – with our partners – to work towards improving air quality in Ipswich, especially in the AQMAs.”

However, concerns have been raised over some of the changes.

Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Lockington questioned whether the housing growth and associated traffic from new homes meant AQMAs should not be removed or reduced.

The Northern Fringe Protection Group in its response to the consultation said: “IBC needs to produce evidence that there will be no detrimental impact of its growth plans on these AQMAs before it can duly consider reductions or revocations to them."

It added: “Growth plans will result in exceedances of air quality limits in and around existing Ipswich AQMAs over at least the next five years and these AQMAs must be retained accordingly.”