Concern about the air quality in this area of the A12 led to us monitor levels of nitrogen dioxide (arising from vehicle exhausts) in Farnham, Little Glemham and Stratford St Andrew since 2011. During 2011-2013, the level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) at Long Row in Main Road, Stratford St Andrew consistently exceeded the Air Quality Objective of 40 µg/m3. Levels at all other locations were within the Objective.
Detailed Assessment investigations into this exceedance were completed in 2013 and recommended declaration of an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for the 4 properties at Long Row, Main Road, Stratford St Andrew.
The AQMA was declared in June 2014. Following declaration, the required Further Assessment report was produced and approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) at the end of 2015. It was consulted upon in March 2016. The studies undertaken suggested that southbound traffic accelerating just prior to the end of the 30mph speed limit in Stratford St. Andrew is a large part of the problem.
The Steering Group set up for this AQMA produced a draft Air Quality Action Plan which received approval from Defra in February 2017 with a few suggested changes. Public Consultation on the draft Action Plan was undertaken in August 2017 and did not necessitate any changes to the document. The final Action Plan included a number of suggested changes by Defra, and in March 2018 received final Defra approval.
In summary, the Plan consists of 2 short term, priority action measures and 6 longer term aspirational measures that may be considered in the future if needed. The main priority measure is for the County Council to move the 30 mph speed limit further south out of the village of Stratford St. Andrew. This was completed in December 2017.
NO2 concentrations fell below the objective for the first time in 2017 (39 µg/m3) and again in 2018 (38 µg/m3), the first year of monitoring following the move of the 30mph speed limit. Historic and future air quality data can be found in Annual Status Reports produced by East Suffolk Council.
The latest meeting of the Steering Group was held in February 2020. The Steering Group discussed the results of monitoring undertaken to determine average vehicle speeds both before and after the 30mph speed limit move. The Steering Group agreed to investigate the option of using Vehicle Activated Signs along the stretch of the A12 by the AQMA, to complement the moved 30mph speed limit.