Congestion and emissions in Northampton causes '102 deaths a year', study claims.

A traffic jam of buses in The Drapery following gas works in March. The town 'came to a standstill'. Photo by Julian Marino.
A traffic jam of buses in The Drapery following gas works in March. The town 'came to a standstill'. Photo by Julian Marino.

One in 20 deaths in Northampton are attributed to air pollutants, a report has claimed.

It points to the diesel engine byproduct nitrogen dioxide as the main cause of health problems.

Emissions such as nitrogen dioxide are causing premature deaths in the town, the report claims.

Emissions such as nitrogen dioxide are causing premature deaths in the town, the report claims.

Seven roads and their surrounding areas are being monitored by Northampton Borough Council for producing more than the legal level of nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants.

Now, the Northampton Borough Council Emissions Strategy Action Plan has recommended a string of investigations across the town to test new solutions to the emissions problem.

The report says: "One in 20 deaths in Northampton [are] attributed to particle matter.

"It was estimated that as of 2010, across Northampton, 6.1 per cent of people aged over 25 would die prematurely each year because of particulate air pollution - equivalent to 102 deaths per year.

Traffic congestion has been pointed to as the leading cause of emissions. Photo by John Evans.

Traffic congestion has been pointed to as the leading cause of emissions. Photo by John Evans.

"Should someone 100 metres near to a major road they have a 10 per cent increased chance of a stroke."

The report comes after Harborough Road, in Kingsthorpe, briefly became the worst road for air pollution in the country in July 2016.

To try and combat car emissions in Northampton, the report is proposing a 'feasibility study' into moving the entrance to the Mayorhold car park, in Ladys Lane, to ease congestion around the Northgate Bus Station.

It also 'strongly recommends' establishing a town-wide air quality management area, and off-street parking could be encouraged in residential areas.

The town could also be recommended to become a 'Clean Air Zone', which would charge certain cars for entering the town.

But while critics have called the plan 'a step in the right direction', they are concerned the report has no priorities or focus.

Graham Croucher, chair of St James Resident's Association, said: "The report claims they will being lots of 'investigations', but that doesn't necessarily mean action.

"Out of all the investigations it recommends, it doesn't say which is their first priority. It seems like saying and not doing.

"The report is a good step in the right direction. Public consultation took a big part in some of it and I hope that will continue as their projects move forward."

St James is already being monitored by Northampton Borough Council after concerns that Wooton Road, which runs through the area, produces more than the legal level of nitrogen dioxide.

An electric taxi trial and an increase in electric charging points across the town was also put forward for consideration.