The Environment Act 1995 (Part IV) requires Suffolk Coastal to carry out periodic reviews of current and likely future air quality in its area under the Local Air Quality Management regime. These reviews follow Government guidance issued in 2000 and 2002 that set health-based air quality objectives for seven key pollutants and target dates for their achievement. The pollutants concerned are: benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10).
Of these 7 pollutants the main ones of relevance currently to the Suffolk Coastal district are firstly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and also particulate matter (PM10). The main sources in the district of both are emissions from road traffic, with also some coming from industrial processes, activities on the Port of Felixstowe, biomass boilers and construction.
Generally, if you are young and in a good state of health, moderate air pollution levels are unlikely to have any serious short term effects. However, elevated levels and/or long term exposure to air pollution can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions. NO2 is known to irritate the airways of the lungs, reduce immunity to lung infections and cause the increased likelihood of respiratory problems. It can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases, such as asthma, and older people with heart disease. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimated that the effects of NO2 on mortality are equivalent to 23,500 deaths annually in the UK. Many of the sources of oxides of nitrogen are also sources of particulate matter. The impact of exposure to particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) is estimated by Defra to have an effect on mortality equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths in the UK. The combined impact of these two pollutants represents a significant public health challenge.
Through improving air quality we can reduce both the short term and long term effects on people’s health. It will have benefits to those who may find their conditions are made worse through exposure to air pollution, for example people with heart or lung conditions or breathing problems.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) provides a daily air quality forecast with information based on five pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), Particles (PM2.5 and PM10) that can have an impact on your health.
The forecasts use the Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI) that is designed to show complex air quality information on a simple 10 point scale to communicate the levels of pollution expected. Each of the bands/levels of the DAQI has associated health information and advice for the general public as well as those that may be more sensitive to air pollution. Forecasts are displayed on a UK map but are also available for 5000 specific locations over the UK. By searching for your postcode you can see air quality forecasts for the locations of most interest to you.
To access the daily forecast please use the following link http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/
As part of the above requirements, the Council monitors levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air at a number of locations in the district. We have a continuous analyser located in Woodbridge at the junction of Lime Kiln Quay Road, Thoroughfare and St John’s Street.
There are also a number of sites in the district which have diffusion tubes to monitor nitrogen dioxide levels.
Details of the locations of these together with historic results can be viewed in the relevant air quality report.
Defra has set out a phased approach to local review and assessment that becomes increasingly more detailed. At the end of the review and assessment, if any of the objectives are not likely to be achieved by the target dates, the Council must declare the location as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and prepare an action plan to make improvements.
All air quality reports produced by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils since 1999 are available on this website for you to view or download.
The air quality investigations to date have culminated in the declaration of 3 AQMAs in East Suffolk. More information regarding each AQMA is available if you follow the links below:
Both of these AQMAs have been declared due to an exceedance of the annual mean Air Quality Objective for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The levels identified range between 40 and 44µg/m3 - only slightly above the Objective which is set at 40µg/m3.
Ferry Lane Felixstowe AQMA Revocation Order
On 5 October 2016 the AQMA declared at Ferry Lane, Felixstowe was revoked following the results of a Detailed Assessment.
2015 Detailed Assessment – AQMA at Ferry Lane, Felixstowe – recommending revocation of the AQMA.
This AQMA was declared in 2009 due to exceedances of the air quality objective for annual mean nitrogen dioxide (NO2) at the Dooley Inn public house, Ferry Lane. Since this declaration, measured annual mean concentrations have declined in the AQMA (and at other locations around the Port of Felixstowe) - the results of diffusion tube monitoring undertaken in 2014 confirmed that annual mean nitrogen dioxide concentrations within the Felixstowe AQMA continue to be below the Air Quality Objective, at 36µg/m3, for the third year running.
Since the publication of the air quality Action Plan, the Council and the Port of Felixstowe have been proactive in working together to implement measures to reduce emissions from activities on the port and from HDVs accessing the port – the two major source contributions to emissions. These measures include:
Despite an increase in throughput in the port, the implementation of these measures has assisted to reduce NO2 concentrations. Furthermore, a similar decline in measured levels are occurring at other locations around the port.
A Detailed Assessment has been undertaken which concludes that the annual mean Air Quality Objective for NO2 is now met within the Felixstowe AQMA and that there are unlikely to be any exceedances in the future. As a result it is recommended that the Felixstowe AQMA at the Dooley Inn, Ferry Lane should be revoked.
The findings of this assessment received approval from Defra earlier this year, and were taken to the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 5 April 2016 where they also received approval.