An Air Quality Management Area in Woodbridge has been revoked, following significant improvements in air quality at the junction of Lime Kiln Quay Road, Thoroughfare and St John’s Street.
To meet national air quality objectives, local authorities must regularly review and assess air quality in their areas. If a location is found where the objectives are not being achieved, the local authority must declare the area as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and develop an Air Quality Action Plan to reduce air pollution.
The Woodbridge AQMA was established in 2006 after high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were detected at the junction of Lime Kiln Quay Road, Thoroughfare and St John’s Street. Studies showed that these levels were most likely caused by both moving and idling traffic.
Since this time, NO2 concentrations within the AQMA have decreased and since 2014, have been consistently below the national objective levels.
As a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) requested that the AQMA be revoked, and an assessment was carried out in 2021 to establish whether removal of the AQMA was appropriate. Using measurements taken in 2019 and 2020, the assessment predicts future NO2 concentrations within the AQMA over the next 5 years and concludes that the AQMA could be revoked.
These findings were discussed by East Suffolk Council’s Cabinet on 3 May 2022, and following a six-week public consultation, the AQMA was revoked on 29 September.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for the Environment said: “Poor air quality negatively affects the health and wellbeing of our residents, and so it is great news that the air quality at this location has significantly improved to such an extent that the Air Quality Management Area is no longer necessary. We will continue to monitor levels at this junction, as we do across the whole of East Suffolk, and ensure that air quality is considered in future planning decisions.”