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Air quality in Poole

We monitor the air quality at numerous locations across Poole. While most areas are showing a downward trend in pollution levels, the levels in some areas have yet to decrease to below that required of the Air Quality (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 within the required time frame.

Section 83 (1) of the Environment Act 1995 states that a local authority must designate an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for areas where air quality objectives are unlikely to be met.

We have declared Air Quality Management Areas within Commercial Road and Ashley Road due to high levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Commercial Road AQMA

The AQMA at Commercial Road has been declared on a small stretch between Station Road and the Curzon Road junctions, with the AQMA including the road, pavement and front of the properties. View a map of the Commercial Road AQMA.

Commercial Road forms part of the main A35 link from Poole to Bournemouth, and has a high vehicle flow. However, numerous junctions and right hand turns have created slow moving vehicles on a particularly narrow stretch of road with relatively high buildings each side, thus not allowing pollutants from vehicle exhausts to fully disperse.

The processes following on from designation of an AQMA require us to undertake further monitoring, produce an action plan and work to achieve it. We are currently monitoring levels of nitrogen dioxide at numerous locations on this stretch of road, to ascertain the effects of the traffic scheme on air quality.

The Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for Commercial Road focuses not only on the small area of the current AQMA (2 properties), but also the wider area of Lower Parkstone and Ashley Cross. Thus all measures identified within the AQAP aim to benefit other nearby areas where exceedances were identified.

Ashley Road AQMA

The AQMA at Ashley Road was originally declared on a small stretch between the Richmond Road and Mansfield Road junctions, with the AQMA including the road, pavement and front of the properties.

Further monitoring within the area revealed that the extent of the AQMA needed to be increased to include all properties along Ashley Road, between 467 Ashley Road and Jubilee Road. Therefore, an amendment to the AQMA Order was made, coming into force in April 2013.

The sole contributor to air pollution levels in this area is slow moving vehicular traffic. The road is a main link between Poole and Bournemouth and is also commercial. As a result, it is a busy shopping area throughout the day - with parking and loading/deliveries on the main stretch of road contributing to congestion.

An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for Ashley Road aims to implement measures to improve air quality within the AQMA.

Health implications of Air Quality Management Areas

Public Health England has issued the following advice regarding any health concerns within these two areas.

"Low levels of air pollution are likely to go unnoticed by most of the population. However, people with heart or lung conditions (including asthma) are most likely to be sensitive to traffic related air pollution, especially if they are elderly. Increases in air pollution can trigger increased admission to hospital, if you are in a risk category it is advisable to avoid prolonged exposure during periods of peak traffic."

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