Northampton bus station and Drapery to become specially monitored areas after breaches of emissions standards

The Drapery during a particularly bad traffic jam. The borough council says it will be keeping a close eye on street and the area surrounding North Gate Bus Station.
The Drapery during a particularly bad traffic jam. The borough council says it will be keeping a close eye on street and the area surrounding North Gate Bus Station.

The Drapery and the are a surrounding Northampton bus station are to be declared air quality management areas after breaches of emissions standards.

Buses have been operating out of the Northgate Bus Station and The Drapery since 2014 with shopkeepers and passengers complaining ever since about traffic jams and pollution.

But Northampton Borough Council insists it is taking measures to address matters.

Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for environment, said: ““Since monitoring at the bus station indicates that air quality standards are being breached, we will be declaring it an air quality management area.”

Councillor Hallam said the site has had to be re-added to its schedule of regular emissions monitoring after the process was halted near the bus station for the whole of 2016.

The hiatus was uncovered by the Liberal Democrat group but the council has since refused to say what happened.

It was yesterday forced to clarify another statement given to the Lib Dems that said it has not collected any car emissions data near the bus station since January 2017 - contravening a pledge leaders made last year. Yesterday, the administration insisted what it told the Lib Dems was an actually incorrect and it was simply unable to provide the data it had indeed collected because it is now released at the end of the calendar year

Sally Beardsworth, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said it was vitally important that emissions were tested properly and regularly otherwise officers would never know the size of the problem they faced.

She said business owners are very unhappy about the level of bus fumes, which they believe put off visitors.

“I have spoken to shopkeepers in the Drapery and they have told me that their staff and their customers can smell the pollution and feel it in their throats.

“It’s no wonder that shoppers are avoiding our town centre.”