Plans to deal with Braunton air quality

Joseph Bulmer

Levels of nitrogen dioxide have been found to be above World Health Organisation limits.

PLANS to improve the air quality in Braunton are being drawn up by North Devon Council

During routine air quality monitoring, environmental protection officers at the council found that levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide were slightly higher in Braunton than World Health Organisation limits.

Now the council is to set up an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) to deal with the problem.

Councillor Pat Barker, Lead Member for Environmental Health, said: “Residents shouldn’t be alarmed by this action. Under the Environment Act 1995 we are required to monitor air quality against the Air Quality Objectives. If levels exceed these objectives, we have to designate an AQMA and produce an action plan to identify possible measures which may improve air quality in the area.

“This is the first time the council has had to deal with an AQMA and on this occasion the levels of nitrogen dioxide were found to be only marginally above set levels.

“Our officers are now working alongside residents in the area to ensure they are aware of the situation and are putting together actions to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide.”

A four-month consultation is taking place where any interested parties can declare their interest, give ideas or concerns. Following this consultation an order will be made formally declaring the AQMA.

Stakeholder and steering groups will then be set up to make sure the council works with interested parties to identify and evaluate the various measures which could reduce air pollution levels in Braunton.

Anyone who wishes to provide formal comments, or has any questions or points of concern, can access the consultation using the “Have Your Say” box on the council’s website until 22 April 2011.