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Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)

We monitor the air quality at numerous locations across Poole, however, whilst most areas are showing a downward trend in pollution levels mainly due to advances in vehicle engines and fuels, 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 those parts of its area where air quality objectives are unlikely to be met. Monitoring of air pollutants has shown that we are therefore required to declare two Air Quality Management Areas within Commercial Road and Ashley Road due to the fact that the current objective of 40µg/m3 is exceeded for nitrogen dioxide.

Commercial Road AQMA

Location of the Commercial Road AQMA

The AQMA at Commercial Road has been declared on a small stretch between the Station Road and Curzon Road junctions, with the AQMA including the road, pavement and front of the properties. A map of the Commercial Road AQMA can be downloaded using the links to the right of this page.

Why levels are exceeding the threshold in the Commercial Road AQMA

Commercial Road forms part of the main A35 link from Poole to Bournemouth so therefore has a high vehicle flow, however, coupled with the numerous junctions and right hand turns this has 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.

Next steps in the Commercial Road AQMA

The processes following on from designation of an AQMA require the Council to undertake further monitoring, produce an action plan and work to achieve what has been set out in the plan. 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.

These results were reported as part of a ‘Further Assessment’ in air quality within this area. The report recommended that the AQMA be extended to include, as a minimum, the properties along Commercial Road where new exceedance of the 2010 objective was identified within the report. However, as no monitoring had been undertaken here, Environmental Services undertook a 6-month diffusion tube monitoring programme at specific properties.

The results of monitoring were reported in the Updating and Screening Assessment 2012. The report concluded that whilst exceedances of the objectives were apparent in this area, we were not anticipating to extend the area of the AQMA at Commercial Road, largely because an AQMA already existed within the adjacent area and an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) includes measures to benefit the wider area. Thus an extension, of the AQMA would only be an administrative exercise and would not alter the outcome of the AQAP.

The AQAP can be downloaded here that 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

Location of the 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. A map of the Ashley Road AQMA can be downloaded using the links to the right of this page.

Why levels are exceeding the threshold in the Ashley Road AQMA

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

Next steps in the Ashley Road AQMA

The processes following on from designation of an AQMA required the Council to undertake further monitoring, produce an Action Plan and work to achieve what has been set out in the plan. We monitored levels of nitrogen dioxide at numerous locations on this stretch of road, to ascertain the exact levels of nitrogen dioxide at residential properties and commercial units.

The results were reported as part of the further assessment in air quality within this area. Updated monitoring and modelled results confirmed that the Ashley Road AQMA was still required in Poole, as the NO2 annual mean objective was still likely to be exceeded at relevant receptor locations.

It was recommended that the extent of the AQMA be extended to include all properties along Ashley Road between 467 Ashley Road and Jubilee Road. The amendment to AQMA Order 2011 No.2 (Ashley Road) extension came into force on 23 April 2013.

An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) was produced for the Ashley Road AQMA with the aim of implementing measures to improve air quality within the AQMA. A copy of the AQAP can be downloaded here.

Health implications of the AQMA

The then Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) were advised of the decisions to declare AQMAs within Commercial Road and Ashley Road. They provided the following advice to residents, workers and shoppers alike:

“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.”

For further information on what air quality is like near you, visit the DEFRA website.

Page last updated: 31 January 2019
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