New fears over air pollution

INCREASING numbers of juggernauts going to and from Felixstowe port will reduce air quality for residents of two large estates – whether a £242 million expansion takes place or not.

INCREASING numbers of juggernauts going to and from Felixstowe port will reduce air quality for residents of two large estates - whether a £242 million expansion takes place or not.

That's the view of experts who have been monitoring the air quality at certain traffic pinch points on the Orwell Green and Farmlands estates next to the A14.

They are also concerned at pollution pumped out from ships' funnels wafting over the seaside town and have recommended action be taken to cut the emissions while the vessels are berthed.

Paul Shadarevian, counsel for Suffolk Coastal council at the public inquiry into the port's proposed redevelopment of its Landguard Terminal, said the council had very real concerns over air quality in the years ahead.

Tests of how pollution from traffic dispsersed "indicated exceedance in both nitrogen dioxide and PM10s" - tiny amounts of a variety of pollutants - at measuring sites near the port if the port expanded and even if it did not expand.

"In the case of nitrogen dioxide the modelling study predicted that annual average concentrations for 2008 at The Downs, Felixstowe, and Spriteshall Lane, Trimley St Mary, will exceed the objective limit to be achieved by 2005 in the Air Quality Regulations 2000," he said.

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"PM10 concentrations are predicted to exceed the EU's indicative limit for 2010 at all receptors considered as part of the study."

The council's expert John Abbott also indicated there was a risk discharge plumes from ships at berth might combine when the wind is from the northwest or south-east and drift over the town.

He said "it would be sensible for facilities to be incorporated into the construction of the new quay to enable ship-to-shore electricity to be provided . . . this will assist to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions from the port at that time."

Mr Shadarevian said while it could not be said the proposed development would result in any unacceptable air pollution, the council welcomed Hutchison Port's commitment to pay towards future air monitoring.

"Suffolk Coastal will continue to reassess concentrations, including concentrations within the vicinity of the Port of Felixstowe Road and Candlet Road roundabout," he said.

"In the event that the air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide will not be met, the council will declare an Air Quality Management Area, which will have consequences for future development.

"It will be necessary in these circumstances for the council to prepare an action plan incorporating measures to reduce the impact of port-related traffic, drawing on the advice of relevant policy guidance."

Previous assessments by Suffolk Coastal have not found sites along the A14 failing to meet regulations, despite families' concerns about air quality amid reports of pollution causing respiratory type illnesses, including asthma.

But it has been concerned over emissions from ships and done ongoing monitoring.

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