Air quality in the UK has improved considerably over the last few decades as a result of regulation of emissions from industrial processes, progressive tightening of emissions and fuel standards for road vehicles and controlling smoke from domestic premises. Despite this positive picture, air pollution still harms health and the environment and is currently estimated to reduce life expectancy by an average of 8 months, with estimated equivalent health costs of up to £20 billion each year.
The UK Air Quality Strategy commits local authorities to achieve Air Quality Objectives for seven pollutants. The Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities to periodically review and assess air quality in their areas to determine whether the national Air Quality Objectives are being met.
Local councils are required to regularly assess or monitor air quality to identify any areas that are particularly high in pollutants. Any identified areas are known as 'Air Quality Management Areas' - these are monitored and regularly assessed with an Action Plan put in place to try and minimise pollution. The Councils’ monitoring results and assessments of air quality may be downloaded from the following links:
Babergh District Council has designated part of Cross Street in Sudbury as an Air Quality Management Area because Nitrogen dioxide levels, arising mainly from traffic emissions, are above the Annual Average Objective near some homes.
We have produced an Air Quality Action Plan which aims to address a very specific air quality problem on certain sections of Cross Street related to the narrow, ‘canyon’-like nature of the road, rather than providing a solution to wider traffic congestion in Sudbury.
The Action Plan has been produced in partnership with other relevant agencies and Suffolk County Council’s Transport Department in particular. It has been approved by the Government’s air quality experts and sets out a package of measures and joint working with other agencies aimed at addressing the nitrogen dioxide levels.
The Action Plan was produced following some extensive studies of the area, the reports for which may be downloaded here:
As an individual there are many things that you can do to help improve the air quality and reduce air pollution. These include: