A draft plan which considers how to tackle air pollution in South Kesteven says Grantham has the worst cases in the district.
Residents in South Kesteven are being consulted on the draft Air Quality Action Plan, drawn up by South Kesteven District Council.
They are being asked to give their views on improving air quality across the district but also in those areas where levels of pollution are above acceptable levels.
Three sites in Grantham are said to be above these levels. Two are in the Brook Street/Manthorpe Road (A607) area and one is in Wharf Road. These sites form part of an area known as the Air Quality Management Area which was drawn up in 2013 and exists from Brook Street to Bridge End Road, including the High Street, London Road, Wharf Road and part of Barrowby Road.
SKDC’s portfolio holder for healthy environment, Councillor Nick Craft, said: “We have been monitoring air quality in the district since 1998 and it is generally good. However, like over 230 other councils across the UK, we have found that levelsof some pollutants are above the guidelines set by the Government in some areas.
“The council is committed to working to improve air quality in our district and we have produced a draft Air Quality Action Plan that contains measures to improve air quality and help to reduce the key pollutant of concern, nitrogen dioxide, within the Air Quality Management Area.”
The action plan states that traffic is producing the majority of the pollution and the plan focuses to some extent on reducing traffic congestion. It says idling vehicles are causing a lot of the fumes.
The council says that the southern relief road, which is currently being built, will go some way to reducing pollution by diverting lorries away from the town centre. It also says improving traffic management at key junctions in the town to keep traffic moving will help and a renewal of the town’s bus fleet to meet emission standards will also help.
The district council also wants to encourage more people to walk and cycle, as well as use public transport. It points to improving the cycling network in the town with more cycle lanes.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways and transportat Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We have been working with the district council to tackle this issue since 2010. The primary cause of air pollution in the centre of Grantham is exhaust fumes from traffic – particularly from heavy goods vehicles, buses and older cars. To remedy this we have been focusing on encouraging residents to use sustainable transport methods such as walking and cycling as part of our Grantham Transport Strategy.
“We started to build the southern relief road back in October last year which is crucial to reducing this further. When it is completed in 2019 it will mean vehicles, particularly HGVs, will be able to go from the A52 to the A1 without having to go into the town centre. We know how important this is to local residents so we have pledged £24 million towards the project, despite the staggering financial challenges we are facing as an authority.
“Once Grantham has its relief road we will be looking to ban HGVs from the town centre by introducing weight limits on all approaches, to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”
County and district councillor Ray Wootten said plans to build 550 homes at Manthorpe would only make traffic pollution worse along the A607, if permittted.
He said: “There is evidence that the Manthorpe Road entrance to the town centre suffers from high pollution due to vehicles waiting in long queues to enter the town centre. Any further increase in housing on the Manthorpe estate will only exacerbate this problem and affect people’s health. I urge residents to submit their views on pollution to SKDC.”
To take part in the consultation go to www.southkesteven.gov.uk/airquality by March 21.