Traffic congestion is causing air quality levels to drop in Grantham and increasingly exceed EU-mandated pollution limits.
A report for South Kesteven District Council claims “a trend of increasing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.”
This is especially so in parts of Grantham in an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), where emissions are particularly bad.
The main roads in Grantham town centre form this AQMA, with SKDC having to monitor pollution and devise ways to improve figures.
The report said 34 sites are monitored across the district, with seven sites (all within the AQMA) exceeding the ‘annual mean objective’ for Nitrogen Oxide of 40 micrograms/per cubic metre.
After ‘correction’ to allow for proximity to homes and schools, this reduced to four monitoring sites at three locations. They were the Brook Street/ Manthorpe junction; Wharf Road and the South Parade/ London Road junction.
“In comparison to 2015 data there is an upward trend across majority locations within the AQMA. Overall 14 of the 16 sites showed increased concentrations in 2016 when compared with 2015 data. On the basis of these results the AQMA remains relevent and there is no justification to revoke or amend the area,” said the report.
The main actions in SKDC’s current Action Plan to improve air quality are the opening of the Grantham southern by-pass, better traffic flow in town, lower bus fleet emissions, encouraging non-car transport and the council using cleaner fuels amongst its own car fleet.
SKDC plans to buy four electric cars in 2018 for its fleet, feasibility studies are being undertaken for power charging points to be installed in car parks and progress is underway on the by-pass.
But the report warned of challenges from the “strong economic growth and projected increase in population” of the area leading to more transport and infrastructure.
It added work had started on the next air standards report, using 2017 data, which will be sent to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in June.
DEFRA said: “The local authority has made good progress towards implementing and completing measures.In the light of this year’s results SKDC should continue to develop its AQAP in order to achieve compliance. On the basis of evidence provided, the conclusions reached are acceptable for all sources and pollutants.”