Agreement to make air data more 'open and transparent'

Northampton Borough Council agreed to the Liberal Democrat motion regarding air quality
Northampton Borough Council agreed to the Liberal Democrat motion regarding air quality

Air quality and pollution data looks set to be published more ‘openly and transparently’ by Northampton Borough Council - after councillors agreed to review how the data is published.

Liberal Democrat councillors Brian Markham and Sally Beardsworth called on the authority to ‘review the accessibility, frequency and timeliness of the air quality data and activity’ published on its own website in order to match the ‘openness and transparency achieved by other local authorities’.

The Guildhall publishes nitrogen dioxide data every three months, whereas Kings Lynn and West Norfolk District Council include monthly publications of raw data from air quality monitoring tubes.

The original motion was amended though by Conservative cabinet member for finance Councillor Mike Hallam.

His amendment said that it was ‘important’ members of the public understood that the raw data can only be properly analysed and assessed after a 12-month period to take account of any specific in-month events that might skew the data, such as road traffic closures.

Councillor Hallam added: “This is a highly complex and technical area of work, and we will resolve to work openly with all those with appropriate expertise in this area’.

Councillor Markham said he wants the council to communicate with the public the ‘steps that it is making to monitor and to reduce air pollution’.

The latest raw data from September showed that 34 of 91 testing locations showed pollution levels higher than the Government's limit, although they still needed to be adjusted as highlighted by Councillor Hallam.