Council seeks views on draft Air Quality Action Plan

People are being asked for their views on a number of options for reducing pollution on a busy Swindon road.

Published: Friday, 21st December 2018
Cars

In February this year, Swindon Borough Council declared part of Kingshill Road an Air Quality Management Area after air quality monitoring along the road found that the most common pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), exceeded the annual average limit.

The high numbers of vehicles using the road, the closeness of the houses to the road, the fact houses are sheltered from prevailing winds and the topography of the road means the nitrogen dioxide can’t disperse and gets trapped. This in turn causes the nitrogen dioxide in the air to exceed maximum levels.

Following useful feedback from local residents, a steering group made up of a range of stakeholders from highways and transport, public health, environmental health and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, created a draft Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing NO2 exposure within the Air Quality Management Area.

A wide range of options have been explored to improve the air quality along Kingshill Road and the Council is now seeking residents’ views on potential measures that could be introduced.

Among the measures being proposed include putting up signage to encourage drivers to use different routes, restricting the use of the road by heavy goods vehicles and encouraging people to use alternative transport or to walk or cycle where possible.

The Council will also lead by example by looking to replace its fleet with electric vehicles where possible and also putting air quality at the forefront of future planning decisions and in plans for the town centre.

Other options that were considered but have since been ruled out, due to Kingshill Road being an important through route, were a complete closure of the road, changing the road layout and diverting traffic.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “I would really encourage local residents and anyone who uses Kingshill Road to give us their views on the draft Air Quality Action Plan so we can implement some proactive measures that can begin to tackle the issue of poor air quality on this small stretch of road.

“Kingshill Road is such an important route for Swindon, linking West Swindon with Old Town and beyond, so closing it or diverting traffic is not really an option as we would simply push pollution and congestion levels up elsewhere.

“Although air pollution in Swindon remains relatively good in comparison to other areas, the Council has been extremely proactive in recent years in promoting sustainable travel in the form of improvements to bus and cycle networks and we are also exploring if we can make our own fleet more environmentally friendly wherever possible so we do our own bit for the environment.”

The consultation opens today (21 Dec) and runs until 3 February 2019 and will be available on the Council website (www.swindon.gov.uk/airquality), in the Council reception at Wat Tyler House and in Council-run libraries.

Anyone with further questions on the draft Air Quality Action plan can email: airquality@swindon.gov.uk

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