Council declares three new areas of Northampton where car pollution levels are above the legal limit

Northgate Bus Station, Abington Square and the White Elephant junction have all been officially recognised as having excessive nitrogen dioxide levels
Northgate Bus Station, Abington Square and the White Elephant junction have all been officially recognised as having excessive nitrogen dioxide levels

A report by Northampton Borough Council has disclosed three more parts of town where nitrogen dioxide levels breach environment laws.

The Air Quality Update report that will go before cabinet members next Wednesday identifies three areas of 'exceedances' - where emissions are exceed the annual mean limit .

The roads highlighted would be covered by the new Air Quality Management Area for the entire town centre

The roads highlighted would be covered by the new Air Quality Management Area for the entire town centre

Author Marion Goodman says that the areas are Northgate Bus Station and The Drapery, Abington Square / Wellingborough Road and The White Elephant junction near the Racecourse. It brings to a total of eight the number of areas of the town where high emissions levels regularly exceed legal levels.

As a result, senior councillors will now push for an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) to cover both the entire town centre within the inner ring road and the main routes into Northampton.

Mrs Goodman said the new, expanded AQMA allows a co-ordinated approach.

She said: "It also prevents the risk of solving air quality issues in one location and creating another elsewhere, for example traffic re-routing."

Tackling each problem area on its own, she added, "does not take into account the cumulative impact from ongoing and proposed developments around the town, particularly on the urban fringes."

If the town-wide AQMA is agreed, a steering committee will have to be set up within 12 months, which will set pollutant reduction targets and will be answerable to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Although a Government grant may become available, the cabinet report says: "It is anticipated that expertise may be required to be utilised from external consultants and will have to be funded through increased revenue budget."